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Cornell University Library 
E 302.J45 1869 
Writings of Thomas Jefferson 

3 1924 026 091 615 





















186 9. 






BOOK n. 

Paet 111. — Continued. — Letters written after his return to the Uni- 
ted States down to the time of his death. — (1790-1826,) — 3. 

Adams, John, letters written to, 25, 37,43, 54, 61, 81, 199, 217, 243, 254, 

264, 274, 280, 307, 313, 33.7, 435. 
Adams, Mrs. A., letter written to, 62. 
Adams, J. Q., letter written to, 436. 

BaiTy, Wm. T., letter written to, 255. 
Blatchly, C. C, letter written to, 263. 
Breokenridge, General, letters written to, 204, 237. 

Cabell, Joseph C, letters written to, 201, 329, 350, 392. 
Campbell, John, letter written to, 268. 
Cartv^right, Major John, letter written to, 355. 
Cooper, Dr., letter written to, 2Q6. 
Corey, M., letter written to, 318. 
Crawford, Wm. H., letter written to, 5. 

Dearborne, General, letter written to, 214. 
Delaplaine, Mr., letter written to, 20 
Denison, Hon. J. Evelyn, letter written to, 415. 

Earle, Thomas, letter written to, 310. 
Emmet, Dr., letters written to, 438, 441. 
Engelbretcht, Isaac, letter written to, 337. 
Eppes, Francis, letter written to, 197. 
, Everett, Edward, letters written to, 232, 270, 340, 380, 437. 

Flower, George, letter written to, 83. 


Gallatin, Albert, letter written to, '7'J. 
Garnett, Robert J., letter written to, 326. 
Giles, Wm. B., letters written to, 424, 426. 
Gilmer, Francis W., letter written to, 3. 
Gooch, Claiborne W., letter written to, 430. 

Hammond, Mr. C, letter written to, 215. 
Harding, David H., letter written to, 346. 
Hopkins, George R, letter written to, 259. 
Humboldt, Baron, letter written to, 74. 
Humphreys, Dr. Thomas, letter written to, 67 

Johnson, Judge, letters written to, 276, 290. 

Kerchival, Samuel, letters written to, 9, 35. 

La Fayette, Marquis de la, letters written to, 63, 324, 378 

Lee, H., letters written to, 376, 407; 

Lee, Wm., letter written to, 56. 

Livingston, Edward, letters written to, 342, 402. 

Logan, Dr., letter written to, 19. 

Ludlow, Wm., letter written to, 377. 

Macon, Nathaniel, letter written to, 222. 

Madison, James, letters written to, 304, 373, 422, 432. 

Mannus, Dr. John, letter written to, 72. 

Mansfield, Jared, lettei- written to, 203. 

Marbois, M. de, letter written to, 76. 

Mease, Dr. James, letter written to, 410. 

Megan, Mr., letter written to, 286. 

Mellish, Mr., letter written to, 51. 

Morse, Jedediah, letter written to, 233. 

Nicholas, Mr., letter written to, 229. 

Pickering, Timothy, letter written to, 210. 
Pleasants, John Hampden, letter written to, 344. 
Plumer, Governor, letter written to, 18. 
President, The, letters written to, 287, 299, 315. 

Ritchie & Gooch, letters written to, 239, 246. 
Roane, Judge, letters written tOj 211, 212. 


Rodgers, Patrick K., letter written to, 327. 

Roscoe, Mr., letter written to, 195. 

Rush Richard, letters written to, 347 379. 

Secretary of State, letter wiitten to, 41. 

Short, Wm., letters written to, 309, 389. 

Sinclair, St. John, letter written to, 22. 

Skidman, Thomas, letter written to, 258. 

Smith, Mr. M. Harrison, letter written to, 27. 

Smith, James, letter written to, 269. 

Smith, General Samuel, letters written to, 284. 

Smith, T. J., letter written to, 401. 

Smyth, General Alexander, letter written to, 394. 

Sparks, Jared, letter written to, 332. 

Stuart, Josephus B., letter written to, 64. 

Summers, George W., cfec, letter written to, 230. 

Taylor, John, letter written to, 17. 
Taylor, Hugh P., letter written to, 2. 
Terrel, Dabney, letter written to, 206. 
Terril, Chiles, letter written to, 260. 
Thweat, Archibald, letters written to, 198. 
Tiffany, Isaac H., letter written to, 31. 
Ticknor, George, letter written to, 300. 

Van Buren, Martin, letter written to, 362, 
Vaughan, John, letter written to, 409. 

Waterhouse, Dr. Benjamin, letters written to, 252, 257. 

Weightman, Mr., letter written to, 450. 

Whittemore, Mr. Robert, letter written to, 245. 

Wiss, Lewis M., letter written to, 419. 

Woodward, Mr., letter written to, 338. 

Woodward, Judge Augustus B., letter written to, 405. 

Wright, Miss, letter written to, 408. 

Address lost, letters written to, 220, 223, 383, 397, 411, 426, 431, 444. 

Letters to Thomas Jefferson from John Adams, 29, 38, 47, 58, 68, 70, 85, 
219, 261, 279, 302, 396. 

BOOK III.— Part I. 


1. Report on the method of obtaining fresh water from salt, 455. 

2. Opinion on the proposition for establishing a woollen manufactory in 

Virginia, 460. 

3. Report on copper coinage, 462. 

4. Opinion on the question whether the Senate has the right to negative 

the grade of persons appointed by the Executive to fill foreign mis- 
sions, 465. 

5. Opinion on the validity of a grant made by the State of Georgia to 

certain companies of individuals, of a tract of country, whereof the 
Indian right had never been extinguished, with power to such indi- 
viduals to extinguish the Indian right, 467. 

6. Opinion in favor of the Resolution of May 21, 1790, directing that, in 

all cases where payment had not been already made, the debts due 
to the soldiers of Virginia and North Caiolina, should be paid to the 
original claimants, and not to their assignees, 469. 

7. Report on plan for establishing uniformity in the coins, weights and 

measures, of the United States, 472. 

8. Opinion on the question whether the President should veto the bill, 

declaring that the seat of government shall be transferred to the Po- 
tomac in the year 1790, 498. 

9. Opinion respecting expenses and salaries of foreign ministers, 501. 
10. Opinion in regard to the continuances of the monopoly of the com- 
merce of the Creek nation enjoyed by Colonel McGillivray, 504. 

. 11. Opinion respecting our foreign debt, 506. 

12. Opinion on the question whether Lord Dorchester should be permitted 

to march troops through the territories of United States from Detroit 
to the Mississippi, 508. 

13. Opinion on' the question whether the real object of the expedition of 
I Governor St. Clair, should be notified to Lord Dorchester, 510. 

14. Opinion on the proceedings to be had under the Residence Act, 511. 



15. Keport of the Secretary of State to the President of the United States 

on the Eeport of the Secretary of the Government of the North-West 
of the Ohio, 516. 

16. Opinion on certain proceedings of the Executive in the North-Western 

Territory, 515. 

17. Eeport on certain letters hetween the President and Governeur Morris, 

relative to our difficulties v?ith England, 517. 

18. Eeport on the Mediterranean trade, 519. 

19. Eeport on the Algerine prisoners, 532. 

20. Eeport on the cod and whale fisheries, 538. 

21. Opinion against the constitutionaHty of a National Bank, 555. 

22. Opinion relative to the ten mile square for the federal government, 561. 

23. Eeport on the policy of securing peculiar marks to manufacturers by 

law, 563. 

24. Opinion relative to the demolition of Mr. Carroll's house by Major 

L'Enfant, in laying out the Federal City 564. 

25. Opinion relative to certain lands on Lake Erie, sold by the U. States 

to Pennsylvania, 567. 

26. Eeport on the negotiations with Spain to secure the navigation of the 

Mississippi, and a port on the same, 568. 

27. Eeport on the case of Charles Eussell and others, claiming certain 

lands, 592. 

28. Eeport relative to negotiations at Madrid, 593. 

29. Opinion on bill apportioning representation, 594. 

30. Opinion relative to the re-capture of slaves, escaped to Florida, 601. 

31. Eeport on the assays at the mint, 604. 

32. Eeport on the petition of John Eodgers relative to certain lands on the 

north-east side of the Tennessee, 605. 

33. Eeport relative to the boundaries of the lands between the Ohio and 

the lakes acquired by treaties from the Indians, 608. 

34. Eeport on proceedings of Secretary of State to transfer to Europe the 

annual fund of $40,000, appropriated to that department, 610. 

35. Opinion on the question whether the United States have the right to 

renounce their treaties with France, or hold them suspended, until 
the government of that country shall become established, 611. 

36. Opinion relative to granting passports to American vessels, 624. 

37. Opinion relative to the case of a British vessel captured by a French 

vessel, purchased by French citizens, and fitted out as a privateer in 
one of our ports, 626. 


' 38. Opinion on the proposition of the Secretary of the Treasury to open a 

new loan, 629. 
\ 39. Opinion relative to the policy of a new loan, 633. 
40. Report on the restrictions and privileges of the commerce of the Uiu- 

ted states in foreign countries, 636. 
X 41. Report on the mint, 651, 




PART III. — Continued. 




M0NTICELI.0, J^ne 7, 1816. 

Deak Sik, — I received a few days ago from Mr. Dupont the 
enclosed manuscript, with permission to read it, and a request, 
when read, to forward it to you, in expectation that you would 
translate it. It is well worthy of publication for the instruction 
of onr citizens, being profound, sound, and short. Our legisla- 
tors are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their 
power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our 
natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us. No 
man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights 
of another ; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain 
him ; every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the 
necessities of the society ; and this is all the laws should enforce 
on him ; and, no man having a natural right to be the judge be- 
tween himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to 
the umpirage of an impartial third. When the laws have de- 
clared and enforced all this, they have fulfilled their functions , 
and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we 
give up any natural right. The trial of every law by one of 
those texts, would lessen much the labors of our legislators, and 
lighten equally our municipal codes. There is a work, of the 


first order of merit now in the press at Washington, by Destutt 
Tracy, on the subject of political economy, which he brings mto 
the compass of three hundred pages, octavo. In a preliminary 
discourse on the origin of the right of property, he coincides 
much with the principles of the present manuscript ; but is more 
developed, more demonstrative. He promises a future work on 
morals, in which I lament to see that he will adopt the princi- 
ples of Hobbes, or humiliation to human nature ; that the 
sense of justice and injustice is not derived from our natural or- 
ganization, but founded on convention only. I lament this the 
more, as he is unquestionably the ablest writer living, on abstract 
subjects. Assuming the fact, that the earth has been created in 
time, and consequently the dogma of final causes, we yield, of 
course, to this short syllogism. Man was created for social inter- 
covirse ; but social intercourse cannot be maintained without a 
sense of justice ; then man must have been created with a sense 
of justice. There is an error into which most of the specula- 
tors on government have fallen, and which the well-known state 
of society of our Indians ought, before now, to have corrected. 
In their hypothesis of the origin of government, they suppose it 
to have commenced in the patriarchal or monarchical form. Our 
Indians are evidently in that state of nature which has passed 
the association of a single family ; and not yet submitted to the 
authority of positive laws, or of any acknowledged magistrate. 
Every man, with them, is perfectly free to follow his own incli- 
nations. But if, in doing this, he violates the rights of another, 
if the case be slight, he is punished by the disesteem of his so- 
ciety, or, as we say, by public opinion ; if serious, he is toma- 
hawked as a dangerous enemy. Their leaders conduct them by 
the influence of their character only ; and they follow, or not, 
as they please, him of whose character for wisdom or war they 
have the highest opinion. Hence the origin of the parties 
among them adhering to different leaders, and governed by their 
advice, not by their command. The Cherokees, the only tribe 
I know to be contemplating the establishment of regular laws, 
magistrates, and government, propose a government of represen- 


tatives, elected from every town. But of all things, they least 
think of subjecting themselves to the will of oiae man. This, 
the only instance of actual fact within our knowledge, will he 
then a beginning by republican, and not by patriarchal or mon 
archical government, as speculative writers have generally con- 

We have to join in mutual congratulations on the appointment 
of our friend Correa, to be minister or envoy of Portugal, here. 
This, I hope, will give him to us for life. Nor will it at all inter- 
fere with his botanical rambles or journeys. The government of 
Portugal is so peaceable and inoflfensive, that it has never any al- 
tercations with its friends. If their minister abroad writes them 
once a quarter that all is well, they desire no more. I learn, 
(though not from Correa himself,) that he thinks of paying us a 
visit as soon as he is through his course of lectures. Not to lose 
this happiness again by my absence, I have informed him I shall 
set out for Poplar Forest the 20th instant, and he back the first 
week of July. I wish you and he could concert your movements 
so us to meet here, and that you would make this your head 
quarters. It is a good central point from which to visit your con- 
nections ; and you know our practice of placing our guests at their 
ease, by showing them we are so ourselves and that we follow 
our necessary vocations, instead of fatiguing them by hanging 
unremittingly on their shoulders. I salute you with affectionate 
esteem and respect. 


MoNTioET.T.o, June 20, 1816 

Dear Sir, — I am about to sin against all discretion, and know- 
ingly, by adding to the drudgery of your letter-reading, this ac- 
knowledgment of the receipt of your favor of May the 31st, with 
the papers it covered. I cannot, however, deny myself the grati- 
fication of expressing the satisfaction I have received, not only 
from the general statement of affairs at Paris, in yours of Decern- 


ber the 12th, 1814, (as a matter of history which I had rot be- 
fore received,) but most especially and superlatively, from the 
perusal of your letter of the 8th of the same month to Mr. Fisk, 
on the subject of draw-backs. This most heterogeneous prin- 
ciple was transplanted into ours from the British system, by a 
man whose mind was really powerful, but chained by native par- 
tialities to everything English ; who had formed exaggerated 
ideas of the superior perfection of the English constitution, the 
superior wisdom of their government, and sincerely believed it 
for the good of this country to make them their model in every- 
thing ; without considering that what might be wise and good 
for a nation essentially commercial, and entangled in complicated 
intercourse with numerous and powerful neighbors, might not be 
so for one essentially agricultural, and insulated by nature from 
the abusive governments of the old world. 

The exercise, by our own citizens, of so much commerce as 
may suffice to exchange our superfluities for our wants, may be 
advantageous for the whole. But it does not follow, that with a 
territory so boundless, it is the interest of the whole to become a 
mere city of London, to carry on the business of one half the 
world at the expeitse of eternal war with the other half. The 
agricultural capacities of our country constitute its distinguishing 
feature ; and the adapting our policy and pursuits to that, is more 
likely to make us a numerous and happy people, than the mimicry 
of an Amsterdam, a Hamburgh, or a city of London. Every so- 
ciety has a right to fix the fundamental principles of its associa- 
tion, and to say to all individuals, that, if they contemplate pur- 
suits beyond the limits of these principles, and involving dangers 
which the society chooses to avoid, they must go somewhere else 
for their exercise ; that we want no citizens, and still less ephem- 
aral and pseudo-citizens, on such terms. We may exclude them 
from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease. Such 
is the situation of our country. We have most abundant re- 
sources of happiness within ourselves, which we may enjoy in 
peace and safety, without permitting a few citizens, infected with 
the mania of rambling and gambling, to bring; danger on the 


great mass engaged in innocent and safe pursuits at home. In 
your letter to Fisk, you have fairly stated the alternatives be- 
tween which we are to choose : 1, licentious commerce and 
gambling speculations for a few, with eternal war for the many ; 
or, 2, restricted commerce, peace, and steady occupations for all. 
If any Staie in the Union will declare that it prefers separation 
with the first alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I 
have no hesitation in saying, " let us separate." I would rather 
the States should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce 
and war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace 
and agriculture. I know that every nation in Europe would join 
in sincere amity with the latter, and hold the former at arm's 
length, by jealousies, prohibitions, restrictions, vexations and 
war. No earthly consideration could induce my consent to con- 
tract such a debt as England has by her wars for commerce, to 
reduce our citizens by taxes to such wretchedness, as that labor- 
ing sixteen of the twenty-four hours, they are still unable to af- 
ford themselves bread, or barely to earn as much oatmeal or po- 
tatoes as will keep soul and body together. And all this to feed 
the avidity of a few millionary merchants, and to keep up one 
thousand ships of war for the protection of their commercial 
speculations. I returned from Europe after our government had 
got under way, and had adopted from the British code the law 
of draw-backs. I early saw its effects in the jealousies and 
vexations of Britain ; and that, retaining it, we must become like 
her an essentially warring nation, and meet, in the end, the catas- 
trophe impending over her. No one can doubt that this alone 
produced the orders of council, the depredations which preceded, 
and the war which followed them. Had we carried but our own 
jjroduce, and luought back but our own wants, no nation would 
liave troubled us. Our commercial dashers, then, have already 
cost us so many thousand lives, so many millions of dollars, more 
than their persons and all their commerce were worth. When 
war was declared, and especially after Massachusetts, who had 
produced it, took side with the enemy waging it, I pressed on 
some confidej?tial friends in Congress to avail us of tl e happy op- 


portuuity of repealing the draw-back ; and I do rejoice to find 
that you are in that sentiment. You are young, and may be m 
the way of bringing it into effect. Perhaps time, even yet, and 
change of tone, (for there are symptoms of that in Massachusetts,) 
may not have obliterated altogether the sense of our late feelings 
and sufferings ; may not have induced oblivion of the friends we 
have lost, the depredations and conflagratiojis we have suffered, 
and the debts we have incurred, and have to labor for through 
the lives of the present generation. The earlier the repeal is pro- 
posed, the more it will be befriended by all these recollections 
and considerations. This is one of three great measures neces- 
sary to insure us permanent prosperity. This preserves our 
peace. A second should enable us to meet any war, by adopting 
the report of the war department, for placing the force of the na- 
tion at effectual command ; and a third should insure resources 
of money by the suppression of all paper circulation during peace, 
and licensing that of the nation alone during war. The metallic 
medium of which we should be possessed at the commencement 
of a war, would be a sufficient fund for all the loans we should 
need through its continuance ; and if the national bills issued, be 
bottomed (as is indispensable) on pledges of specific taxes for 
their redemption within certain and moderate epochs, and be of 
proper denominations for circulation, no interest on them would 
be necessary or just, because they would answer to every one the 
purposes of the metallic money withdrawn and replaced by them. 
But possibly these may be the dreams of an old man, or that 
tte occasions of realizing them may have passed away without 
return. A government regulating itself by what is wise and just 
for the many, uninfluenced by the local and selfish views of the 
few who direct their affairs, has not been seen perhaps, on earth. 
Or if it existed, for a moment, at the birth of ours, it would not 
be easy to fix the term of its continuance. Still, I believe it 
does exist here in a greater degree than anywhere else ; and for 
its growth and continuance, as well as for your personal health 
and happiness, I offer sincere prayers, with the homage of my 
respect and esteem. 



MoNTiCEt.1,0, July 12, 1816. 

Sm, — I duly received your favor of June the 13th, with the 
copy of the letters on the calling a convention, on which you are 
pleased to ask my opinion. I have not been in the habit of 
mysterious reserve on any subject, nor of buttoning up my opin- 
ions within my own doublet. On the contrary, while in public 
service especially, I thought the public entitled to frankness, and 
intimately to know whom they employed. But I am now re- 
tired : I resign myself, as a passenger, with confidence to those 
at present at the helm, and ask but for rest, peace and good will. 
The question you propose, on equal representation, has become a 
party one, in which I wish to take no public share. Yet, if it be 
asked for your own satisfaction only, and not to be quoted before 
the public, I have no motive to withhold it, and the less from 
you, as it coincides with your own. At the birth of our repub- 
lic, I committed that opinion to the world, in the draught of a 
constitution annexed to the " Notes on Virginia," in which- a pro- 
vision was inserted for a representation permanently equal. The 
infancy of the subject at tbat moment, and our inexj:erience of 
self-government, occasioned gross departures in that draught from 
genuine republican canons. In truth, the abuses of monarchy 
had so much filled all the space of political contemplation, that 
we imagined everything republican which was not monarchy. 
We had not yet penetrated to the mother principle, that " govern- 
ments are republican only in proportion as they embody the will 
of their people, and execute it." Hence, our first constitutions 
had really no leading principles in them. But experience and 
reflection have but more and more confirmed me in the particular 
importance of the equal representation then proposed. On that 
point, then, I am entirely in sentiment with your letters ; and 
only lament that a copy-right of your pamphlet prevents their 
appearance in the newspapers, where alone they would be gen- 
erally read, and produce general effect. The present vacancy too, 


of other matter, would give them place in every paper, and bring 
the question home to every man's conscience. 

But inequality of representation in both Houses of our legisla- 
ture, is not the only republican heresy in this first essay of our 
revolutionary patriots at forming a constitution. For let it be 
agreed that a government is republican in proportion as every 
member composing it has his equal voice in the direction of its 
concerns, (not indeed in person, which would be impracticable 
beyond the limits of a city, or small township, but) by represen- 
tatives chosen by himself, and responsible to him at short periods, 
and let us bring to the test of this canon every branch of our 

In the legislature, the House of Representatives is chosen by 
less than half the people, and not at all in proportion to those who 
do choose. The Senate are still more disproportionate, and for 
long terms of irresponsibility. In the Executive, the Governor is 
entirely independent of the choice of the people, and of their con- 
trol ; his Council equally so, and at best but a fifth wheel to a 
wagon. In the Judiciary, the judges of the highest courts are 
dependent on none but themselves. In England, where judges 
were named and removable at, the will of an hereditary executive, 
from which branch most misrule was feared, and has flowed, it 
was a great point gained, by fixing them for life, to make them 
independent of that executive. But in a government founded on 
the public will, this principle operates in an opposite direction, 
and against that will. There, too, they were still removable on 
a concurrence of the executive and legislative branches. But we 
have made them independent of the nation itself. They are 
irremovable, but by their own body, for any depravities of con- 
duct, and even by their own body for the imbecilities of dotage. 
The justices of the inferior courts are self-chosen, are for life, and 
perpetuate their own body in succession forever, so that a faction 
once possessing themselves of the bench of a county, can never 
be broken up, but hold their county in chains, forever indisso- 
luble. Yet these justices are the real executive as well as judi- 
ciary, in all our minor and most ordinary concerns. They tax 

US at will ; fill the office of sheriff, the most important of all the 
executive officers of the county ; name nearly all our military 
leaders, which leaders, once named, are removable but by them- 
selves. The juries, our judges of all fact, and of law when they 
choose it, are not selected by the people, nor amenable to them. 
They are chosen by an officer named by the court and execu- 
tive. Chosen, did I say ? Picked up by the sheriff from the 
loungings of the court yard, after everything respectable has re- 
tired from it. Where then is our republicanism to be found ? 
Not in our constitution certainly, but merely in the spirit of our 
people. That would oblige even a despot to govern us repub- 
licanly. Owing to this spirit, and to nothing in the form of our 
constitution, all things have gone well. But this fact, so trium- 
phantly misquoted by the enemies of reformation, is not the fruit 
of our constitution, but has prevailed in spite of it. Our func- 
tionaries have done well, because generally honest men. If any 
were not so, they feared to show it. 

But it will be said, it is easier to find faults than to amend 
them. I do not think their amendment so difficult as is pretend- 
ed. Only lay down true principles, and adhere to them inflexi- 
bly. Do not be frightened into their surrender by the alarms of 
the timid, or the croakings of wealth against the ascendency of 
the people. If experience be called for, appeal to that of our 
fifteen or twenty governments for forty years, and show me 
where the people have done half the mischief in these forty 
years, that a single despot would have done in a single year ; or 
show half the riots and rebellions, the crimes and the punish- 
ments, which have taken place in any single nation, under king- 
ly government, during the same period. The true foundation 
of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in 
his person and property, and in their management. Try by this, 
as a tally, every provision of our constitution, and see if it hangs 
directly on the will of the people. Reduce your legislative to a 
convenient number for full, but orderly discussion. Let every 
man who fights or pays, exercise his just and equal right in their 
election. Sul^mit them to approbation or rejection at short in- 


tervals. Let the executive be chosen in the same way, and for 
the same term, by those whose agent he is to be ; and leave no 
screen of a council behind which to skulk from responsibility. 
It has been thought that the people are not competent electors 
of judges learned in the late. But I do not know that this is 
true, and, if doubtful, we should follow principle. In this, as in 
many other elections, they would be guided by reputation, which 
would not err oftener, perhaps, than the present mode of appoint- 
ment. In one State of the Union, at least, it has long been 
tried, and with the most satisfactory success. The judges of 
Connecticut have been chosen by the people every six months, 
for nearly two centuries, and I believe there has hardly ever been 
an instance of change ; so powerful is the curb of incessant re- 
sponsibility. If prejudice, however, derived from a monarch- 
ichal institution, is still to prevail against the vital elective princi- 
ple of our own, and if the existing example among ourselves of 
periodical election of judges by the people be still mistrusted, 
let us at least not adopt the evil, and reject the good, of the Eng- 
lish precedent ; let us retain amovability on the concurrence of 
the executive and legislative branches, and nomination by the 
executive alone. Nomination to office is an executive function 
To give it to the legislature, as we do, is a violation of the prin- 
ciple of the separation of powers. It swerves the members from 
correctness, by temptations to intrigue for office themselves, and 
to a corrupt barter of votes ; and destroys responsibility by divid- 
ing it among a multitude. By leaving nomination in its proper 
place, among executive functions, the principle of the distribution 
of power is preserved, and responsibility weighs with its heaviest 
force on a single head. 

The organization of our county administrations may be thought 
more difficult. But follow principle, and the knot unties itself. 
Divide the counties into wards of such size as that every citizen 
can attend, when called on, and act in person. Ascribe to them 
the government of their wards in all things relating to themselves 
exclusively. A justice, chosen by themselves, in each, a con- 
stable, a military company, a patrol, a school, the care of their 


own poor, their own portion of the public roads, the choice of 
one or more jurors to serve in some court, and the delivery, 
within their own wards, of their own votes for all elective ofB- 
cers of higher sphere, will relieve the county administration of 
nearly all its business, will have it better done, and by making 
every citizen an acting member of the government, and in the 
offices nearest and most interesting to him, will attach him by 
his strongest feelings to the independence of his country, and its 
republican constitution. The justices thus chosen by every 
ward, would constitute the county court, would do its judiciary 
business, direct roads and bridges, levy county and poor rates, 
and administer all the matters of common interest to the whole 
country. These wards, called townships in New England, are 
the vital principle of their governments, and have proved them- 
selves the wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for 
the perfect exercise of self-government, and for its preservation. 
We should thus marshal our government into, 1, the general 
federal republic, for all concerns foreign and federal ; 2, that of 
the State, for what relates to our own citizens exclusively ; 3, 
the county republics, for the duties and concerns of the county ; 
and 4, the ward republics, for the small, and yet numerous and 
interesting concerns of the neighborhood ; and in government, as 
well as in every other business of life, it is by division and sub- 
division of duties alone, that all matters, great and small, can be 
managed to perfection. And the whole is cemented by giving 
to every citizen, personally, a part in the administration of the 
public affairs. 

The sum of these amendments is, 1. General suffrage. 2. 
Ei^ual representation in the legislature. 3. An executive chosen 
by the people. 4. Judges elective or amovable. 5. Justices, 
jurors, and sheriffs elective. 6. "Ward divisions. And 7. Peri- 
odical amendments of the constitution. 

I have thrown out these as loose heads of amendment, for 
consideration and correction ; and their object is to secure self- 
government by the republicanism of our constitution, as well as 
by the spirit of the people ; and to nourish and perpetuate that 


spirit. I am not among those who fear the people. They, and 
not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to 
preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us 
with perpetual debt. We must make our election between 
economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into 
such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our 
drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our 
amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of 
England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen 
hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to 
the government for their debts and daily expenses ; and the six- 
teenth being insufficient to afi'ord us bread, we must live, as they 
now do, on oatmeal and potatoes ; have no time to think, no 
means of calling the mismanagers to account ; but be glad to ob- 
tain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the 
necks of our fellow-suflTerers. Our land-holders, too, like theirs, 
retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, 
but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, 
in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, 
exile, and the glory of the nation. This example reads to us 
the salutary lesson, that private fortunes are destroyed by public 
as well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency 
of all human governments. A departure from principle in one 
instance becomes a precedent for a second ; that second for a 
third ; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be 
mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for 
sinning and suifering. Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium 
in omnia, which some lAilosophers observing to be so general 
in this, world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the 
abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team 
is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretched- 
ness and oppression. 

Some men look at constitutions with sanctnnonious reveience, 
and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be 
touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom 
more than human, and suppose- what they did to be beyond amend- 


ment. I knew that age well ; I belonged to it, and labored with 
it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the pres- 
ent, but without the experience of the present ; and forty years 
of experience in government is worth acentury of book-reading ; 
and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the 
dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried 
changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfec- 
tions had better be borne with ; because, when once known, we 
accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of cor- 
recting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institu- 
tions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human 
mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as 
new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and 
opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions 
must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might 
as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him 
when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regi- 
men of their barbarous ancestors. It is this preposterous idea 
which has lately deluged Europe in blood. Their monarchs, in- 
stead of wisely yielding to the gradual change of circumstances, 
of favoring progressive accommodation to progressive improve- 
ment, have clung to old abuses, entrenched themselves behind 
steady habits, and obliged their subjects to seek through blood 
and violence rash and ruinous innovations, which, had they been 
referred to the peaceful deliberations and collected wisdom of th(3 
nation, would have been put into acceptable and salutary forms. 
Let us follow no such examples, nor weakly believe that one 
generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself, 
and of ordering its own affairs. Let us, as our sister States have 
done, avail ourselves of our reason and experienr.e, to correct the 
crude essays of our first and unexperienced, although wise, vir- 
tuous, and well-meaning councils. And lastly, let us provide in 
our constitution for its revision at stated periods. What these 
periods should be, nature herself indicates. By the European 
tables of mortality, of the adults living at any one moment of 
time, a majority will be dead in about nineteen years. At the 


end of that period then, a new majority is come into place ; or; 
in other words, a new generation. Each generation is as inde- 
pendent of the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone 
before. It has then, like them, a right to choose for itself the 
form of government it believes most promotive of its own happi- 
ness ; consequently, to accommodate to the circumstances in 
which it finds itself, that received from its predecessors ; and it 
is for the peace and good of mankind, that a solemn opportunity 
of doing this every nineteen or twenty years, should be provided 
by the constitution ; so that it may be handed on, with periodi- 
cal repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time, if 
anything human can so long endure. It is now forty years since 
the constitution of Virginia was formed. The same tables in- 
form us, that, within that period, two-thirds of the adults then 
living are now dead. Have then the remaining third, even if 
they had the wish, the right to hold in obedience to their will, 
and to laws heretofore made by them, the other two-thirds, who, 
with themselves, compose the present mass of adults ? If they 
have not, who has ? The dead ? But the dead have no rights. 
They are nothing ; and nothing cannot own something. Where 
there is no substance, there can be no accident. This "^orporeal 
globe, and everything upon it, belong to its present corporeal 
inhabitants, during their generation. They alone have a right 
to direct what is the concern of themselves alone, and to declare 
the law of that direction ; and this declaration can only be made 
by their majority. That majority, then, has a right to depute 
representatives to a convention, and to make the constitution 
what they think will be the best for themselves. But how col- 
lect their voice ? This is the real difficulty. If invited by pri- 
vate authority, or county or district meetings, these divisions are 
so large that few will attend ; and their voice will be imperfectly, 
or falsely pronounced. Here, then, would be one of the advan- 
tages of the ward divisions I have ptoposed. The mayor of 
every ward, on a question like the present, would call his ward 
together, take the simple yea or nay of its members, convey these 
to the county court, who would hand on those of all Hs wards 


to the proper general authority ; and the voice of the whole peo- 
ple would be thus fairly, fully, and peaceably expressed, dis- 
cussed, and decided by the common reason of the society. If 
this avenue be shut to the call of sufferance, it will make itself 
heard through that of force, and we shall go on, as other nations 
are doing, in the endless circle of oppression, rebelUon, reform- 
ation ; and oppression, rebellion, reformation, again ; and so on 

These, Sir, are my opinions of the governments we see among 
men, and of the principles by which alone we may prevent our 
own from falling into the same dreadful track. T have given 
them at greater length than your letter called for. But I cannot 
say things by halves ; and I confide them to your honor, so to 
use them as to preserve me from the gridiron of the public papers. 
If you shall approve and enforce them, as you have done that of 
equal representation, they may do some good. If not, keep them 
to yourself as the effusions of withered age and useless time. I 
shall, with not the less truth, assure you of my great respect and 


MoNrrcELr.o. July 16, 181B, 

Dear Sik, — Yours of the 10th is received, and I have to ac- 
knowledge a copious supply of the turnip seed requested. Be- 
sides taking care myself, I shall endeavor again to commit it to 
the depository of the neighborhood, generally found to be the 
best precaution against losing a good thing. I will add a word 
on the political part of our letters. I believe we do not differ on 
either of the points you suppose. On education certainly not ; 
of which the proofs are my bill for the diffusion of knowledge, 
proposed near forty years ago, and my uniform endeavors, to this 
day, to get our counties divided into wards, one of the principal 
objects of which is, the establishment of a primary school in 
each. But education not being a branch of municipal govern- 
ment, but, like the other arts and sciences, an accident only, I did 

vol.. VII. 2 


not place it, with election, as a fundamental member i i the struc- 
ture of government. Nor, I believe, do we differ as to the county 
courts. I acknowledge the value of f his institution ; that it is in 
truth our principal executive and judiciary, and that it does 
much for little pecuniary reward. It is their self-appointment I 
wish to correct ; to find some means of breaking up a cabal, 
when such a one gets possession of the bench. When this takes 
place, it becomes the most afflicting of tyrannies, because its pow- 
ers are so various, and exercised on everything most immediately 
around us. And how many instances have you and I known of 
these monopolies of coimty administration ? I knew a county 
in which a particular family (a numerous one) got possession of 
the bench, and for a whole generation never admitted a man 
on it who was not of its clan or connexion. I know a county 
now of .one thousand and five hundred militia, of which sixty 
are federalists. Its court is of thirty members, of whom twenty 
are federalists, (every third man of the sect.) There are large 
and populous districts in it without a justice, because without a 
federalist for appointment ; the militia are as disproportionably 
under federal officers. And there is no authority on earth which 
can break up this junto, short of a general convention. The re- 
maining one thousand four hundred and forty, free, fighting, and 
paying citizens, are governed by men neither of their choice or 
confidence, and without a hope of relief. They are certainly 
excluded from the blessings of a free government for life, and in- 
definitely, for aught the constitution has provided. This solecism 
may be called anything but republican, and ought undoubtedly 
to be corrected. I salute you with constant friendship and re- 


JloNTiCKLUi, July 21. T8I6. 

I thank you, Sir, for the copy you have been so good as to 
send me, of your late speech to the Legislature of your State 
which I have read a second time with great pleasure, as I had be- 


fore done in the public papers. It is replete with sound princi- 
ples, and truly republican. Some articles, too, are worthy of pe- 
culiar notice. The idea that institutions established for the use 
of the nation cannot be touched nor modified, even to make them 
answer their end, because of rights gratuitously supposed in those 
employed to manage them in trust for the public, may perhaps 
be a salutary provision against the abuses of a monarch, but is 
most absurd against the nation itself. Yet our lawyers and 
priests generally inculcate this doctrine, and suppose that preced- 
ing generations held the earth more freely than we do ; had a 
right to impose laws on us, unalterable by ourselves, and that we, 
in like manner, can make laws and impose burthens on future 
generations, which they will have no right to alter ; in fine, that 
the earth belongs to the dead and not the living. I remark also 
the phenomenon of a chief magistrate recommending the reduc- 
tion of his own compensation. This is a solecism of which the 
wisdom of our late Congress cannot be accused. I, however, 
place economy among the first and most important of republican 
virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be 
feared. We see in England the consequences of the want of it. 
their laborers reduced to live on a penny in the shilling of their 
earnings, to give up bread, and resort to oatmeal and potatoes foi 
food ; and their landholders exiling themselves to live in penury 
and obscurity abroad, because at home the government must have 
all the clear profits of their land. In fact, they see the fee simple 
of the island transferred to the public creditors, all its profits 
going to them for the interest of their debts. Our laborers and 
landholders must come to this also, unless they severely adhere 
to the economy you recommend. I salute you with entire es- 
teem and respect. 


MoNTiCELLO, July 23, 1816. 

Deab Sir, — I have received and read with great pleasure the 
account you have been so kind as to send me of the interview 


between the Emperor Alexander and Mr. Clarkson, which I novr 
return, as it is in manuscript. It shows great condescension of 
character on the part of the Emperor, and power of mind also, to 
be able to abdicate the artificial distance between himself and 
other good, able men, and to converse as on equal ground. This 
conversation too, taken with his late Christian league, seeins to 
bespeak in him something like a sectarian piety ; his character is 
undoubtedly good, and the world, I think, may expect good effects 
from it. I have no doubt that his firmness in favor of France, 
after the deposition of Bonaparte, has saved that country from 
evils still more severe than she is suffering, and perhaps even from 
partition. I sincerely wish that the history of the secret proced- 
ings at Vienna may become known, and may reconcile to our 
good opinion of him his participation in the demolition of ancient 
and independent States, transferring them and their inhabitants 
as farms and stocks of cattle at a market to other owners, and 
even taking a part of the spoil to himself. It is possible to sup- 
pose a case excusing this, and my partiality for his character en- 
courages me to expect it, and to impute to others, known to have 
no moral scruples, the crimes of that conclave, who, under pre- 
tence of punishing the atrocities of Bonaparte, reached them 
themselves, and proved that with equal power they were equally 
flagitious. But let us turn with abhorrence from these sceptered 
Scelerats, and disregarding our own petty diffences of opinion 
about men and measures, let us cling in mass to our country and 
to one another, and bid defiance, as we can if united, to the plun- 
dering combinations of the old world. Present me affectionately 
and respectfully to Mrs. Logan, and accept the assurance of mv 
friendship and best wishes. 


MoNTroELT.o, July 26, I81S. 

Deak Sir, — In compliance with the request of your letter of 
the 6th inst., with respect to Peyton Randolph, I have to ob.serve 


that the difference of age between him and myself admitted my 
knowing little of his early life, except what I accidentally caught 
from occasional conversations. I was a student at college when 
he was already Attorney General at the bar, and a man of es- 
tablished years ; and I had no intimacy with him until I went to 
the bar myself, when, I suppose, he must have been upwards of 
forty ; from that time, and especially after I became a member 
of the legislature, until his death, our intimacy was cordial, and 
I was with him when he died. Under these circumstances, I 
have committed to writing as many incidents of his life as memory 
enabled me to do, and to give faith to the many and excellent 
qualities he possessed, I have mentioned those minor ones which 
he did not possess ; considering true history, in which all will be 
believed, as preferable to unqualified panegyric, in which nothing 
is believed. I avoided, too, the mention of trivial incidents, 
which, by not distinguishing, disparage a character ; but I have 
not been able to state early dates. Before forwarding this paper 
to you, I received a letter from Peyton Randolph, his great 
nephew, repeating the request you had made. I therefore put 
the paper under a blank cover, addressed to you, unsealed, 
and sent it to Peyton Randolph, that he might see what dates 
as well as what incidents might be collected, supplementary to 
mine, and correct any which I had inexactly stated ; circum- 
stances may have been misremembered, but nothing, I think, ot 
substance. This account of Peyton Randolph, therefore, you 
may expect to be forwarded by his nephew. 

You requested me when here, to communicate to you the par- 
ticulars of two transactions in which I was myself an agent, to 
wit : the coup de main of Arnold on Richmond, and Tarleton's 
on Charlottesville. I now enclose them, detailed with an exact- 
ness on which you may rely with an entire confidence. Buf, 
having an insuperable aversion to be drawn into controversy in 
the public papers, I must request not to be quoted either as to 
these or the account of Peyton Randolph. Accept the assur- 
ances of my esteem and respect. 



MoNTicKi-i.o, July SI. 1816. 

Dear Sib, — Your favor of November 1st came but lately to 
my hand. It covered a prospectus of your code of health and 
longevity, a great and useful work, which I shall be happy to 
see brought to a conclusion. Like our good old Franklin, your 
labors and science go all to the utilities of human life. 

I reciprocate congratulations with you sincerely on the restora- 
tion of peace between our two nations. And why should there 
have been war ? for the party to which the blame is to be imput- 
ed, we appeal to the " Exposition of the causes and character of 
the war," a pamphlet which, we are told, has gone through some 
editions with you. If that does not justify us, then the blame is 
ours. But let all this be forgotten ; and let both parties now 
count soberly the value of mutual friendship. I am satisfied both 
will find that no advantage either can derive from any act of in- 
justice whatever, will be of equal value with those flowing from 
friendly intercourse. Both ought to wish for peace and cordial 
friendship ; we, because you can do us more harm than any other 
nation ; and you, because we can do you more good than any 
other. Our growth is now so well established by regular enu- 
merations through a course of forty years, and the same grounds 
of continuance so likely to endure for a much longer period, that, 
speaking in round numbers, we may safely call ourselves twenty 
millions in twenty years, and forty millions in forty years. Many 
of the statesmen now living saw the commencement of the first 
term, and many now living will see the end of the second. It is 
not then a mere concern of posterity ; a third of those now in life 
will see that day. Of what importance then to you must such a 
nation be, whether as friends or foes. But is their friendship, dear 
Sir, to be obtained by the irritating policy of fomenting among 
us party discord, and a ^ teasing opposition; by bribing traitors, 
vvhose sale of themselves proves they would sell their pm-chasers 
also, if their treacheries were worth a price ? How much cheaper 
would it be, how much easier, more honorable, more magnani- 


mous and secure, to gain the government itself, by a moral, a 
friendly, and respectful course of conduct, which is all they 
would ask for a cordial and faithful return. I know the difficul- 
ties arising from the irritation, the exasperation produced on both 
sides by the late war. It is great with you, as I judge from your 
newspapers ; and greater with us, as I see myself. The reason 
lies in the different degrees in which the war has acted on us. 
To your people it ,has been a matter of distant history only, a 
mere war in the cafnatic ; with us it has reached the bosom of 
every man, woman and child. The maritime parts have felt it 
in the conflagration of their houses, and towns, and desolation 
of their farms ; the borderers in the massacres and scalpings of 
their husbands, wives and children ; and the middle parts in their 
personal labors and losses in defence of both froiitiers, and the re- 
volting scenes they have there witnessed. It is not wonderful 
then, if their irritations are extreme. Yet time and prudence on 
the part of the two governments may get over these. Manifesta- 
tions of cordiality between them, friendly and kind offices made 
visible to the people on both sides, will mollify their feelings, 
and second the wishes of their functionaries to cultivate peace, 
and promote mutual interest. That these dispositions have been 
«=trong on our part, in every administration from the first to ths 
present one, that we would at any time have gone our full half- 
way to meet them, if a single step in advance had been taken hy 
the other party, I can affirm of my own intimate knowledge of 
the fact. During the first year of my own administration, I 
thought I discovered in the conduct of Mr. Addington some 
marks of comity towards us, and a willingness to extend to us 
the decencies and duties observed towards other nations. My 
desire to catch at this, and to improve it for the benefit of my 
own country, induced me, in addition to the official declarations 
from the Secretary of State, to write with my own hand to Mr. 
King, then our Minister Plenipotentiary at London, in the follow- 
ing words : " I avail myself of this occasion to assure you of 
my perfect satisfaction with the manner in which you have con- 
uucted the several matters committed to you by us ; and to ex- 


press my hope that through your agency, we may be able to re- 
move everything inauspicious to a cordial friendship between this 
country, and the one in which you are stationed ; a friendship 
dictated by too many considerations not to be felt by the wise 
and the dispassionate of both nations. It is, therefore, with the 
sincerest .pleasure I have observed on the part- of the British gov- 
ernment various manifestations of a just and friendly disposition 
towards us ; 'we wish to cultivate peace and friendship with all 
nations, believing that course most conducive to the welfare of 
our own ; it is natural that these friendships should bear some 
proportion to the common interests of the parties. The interest- 
ing relations between Great Britain and the United States are 
certainly of the first order, and as such are estimated, and will be 
faithfully cultivated by us. These sentiments have been com- 
municated to you from time to time, in the official correspond- 
ence of the Secretary of State ; but I have thought it might not 
be unacceptable to be assured that they perfectly concur with my 
own personal convictions, both in relation to yourself, and the 
country in which you are." 

My expectation was that Mr. King would show this lettei to 
Mr. Addington, and that it would be received by him as an over- 
ture towards a cordial understanding between the two countries. 
He left the ministry, however, and I never heard more of it, and 
certainly never perceived any good eifect from it. I know that 
in the present temper, the boastful, the insolent, and the menda- 
cious newspapers on both sides, will present serious impediments. 
Ours will be insulting your public authorities, and boasting of 
victories ; and yours will not be sparing of provocations and 
abuses of us. But if those at our helms could not place them- 
selves above these pitiful notices, and throwing aside all personal 
feelings, look only to the interests of their nations, they would be 
unequal to the trusts confided to them. I am equally confident, 
on our part, in the administration now in place, as in that which 
will succeed it ; and that if friendship is not hereafter sincerely 
cultivated, it will not be their fault. I will not, however, dis- 
guise that the settlement of the practice of impressing our citi- 


zens is a sirie qua non, a preliminary, withoiit which treaties of 
peace are but truces. But it is impossible that reasonable dispo- 
sitions on both parts should not remove this stumbling block, 
which unremoved, will be an eternal obstacle to peace, and lead 
finally to the deletion of the one or the other nation. The reg- 
ulations necessary to keep your own seamen to yourselves are 
those which our interests would lead us to adopt, and that inter- 
est would be a guarantee of their observance ; and the transfer 
of these questions ffom the cognizance of their naval command- 
ers to the governments themselves, would be but an act of mutual 
as well as of self-respect 

I did not mean, when I began my letter, to have indulged my 
pen so far on subjects with which I have long ceased to have 
connection ; but it may do good, and I will let it go, for although 
what I write is from no personal privity with the views or wishes 
of our government, yet believing them to be what they ought to 
be, and confident in their wisdom and integrity, I am sure I 
hazard no deception in what I have said of them, and I shall be 
happy indeed if some good shall result to both our countries, 
from this renewal of our correspondence and ancient friendship. 
1 recall with great pleasure the days of our former intercourse, 
personal and epistolary, and can assure you with truth that in no 
instant of time has there been any abatement of my great esteem 
and respect for you. 



Dear Sib, — Your two philosophical letters of May 4th and 
6th have been too long in my carton of " letters to be an- 
swered." To the question, indeed, on the utility of grief, no an- 
swer remains to be given. You have exhausted the subject. I 
see that, with the other evils of Ufe, it is destined to temper the 
cup we are to drink. 


Two trns by Jore's high throne have ever stood, 
The source of evil one, and one of good ; 
From thence the cup of mortal man he fills, 
Blessings to these, to those distributes ills ;. 
To most he mingles both. 

Putting to myself your question, •would I agree to live mj 
seventy-three years over again forever ? I hesitate to say. With 
Chew's limitations from twenty-five to sixty, I would say yes ; 
and I might go further back, but not come lower down. For, 
at the latter period, with most of us, the powers of life are sensi- 
bly on the wane, sight becomes dim, hearing dull, memory con- 
stantly enlarging its frightful blank and parting with all we have 
ever seen or known, spirits evaporate, bodily debility creeps on 
palsying every limb, and so faculty after faculty quits us, and 
where then is life ? If, in its full rigcr, of good as well as evil, 
your friend Vassall could doubt its value, it must be purely a neg- 
ative quantity when its evils alone remain. Yet I do not go 
into his opinion entirely. I do not agree that an age of pleasure 
is no compensation for a moment of pain. 1 think, with you, 
that life is a fair matter of account, and the balance often, nay 
generally, in its favor. It is not indeed easy, by calculation of 
intensity and time, to apply a common measure, or to fix the 
par between pleasure and pain ; yet it exists, and is measurable. 
On the question, for example, whether to be cut for the stone r 
The young, with a longer prospect of years, think these over- 
balance the pam of the operation. Dr. Franklin, at the age of 
eighty, thought his residuum of life not worth that price. 1 
should have thought with him, even taking the stone out of the 
scale. There is a ripeness of time for death, regarding others as 
well as ourselves, when it is reasonable we should drop off, and 
make room for another growth. When we have lived our gener- 
ation out, we should not wish to encroach on another. I enjoy 
good health ; I am happy in what is around me, yet I assure you 
I am ripe for leaving all, this year, this day, this hour. If it 
could be doubted whether we would go back to twenty-five, 
bow can it be whether we would go forward from seventy -three } 


Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all humai. contem- 
plations the most abhorrent is body without mind. Perhaps, 
however, I might accept of time to read Grimm before I go. 
Fifteen volumes of anecdotes and incidents, within the compass 
of my own time and cognizance, written by a man of genius, of 
taste, of point, an acquaintance, the measure and traverses of 
whose mind I know, could not fail to turn the scale in favor of 
life during their perusal. I must write to Ticknor to add it to 
my catalogue, and hold on till it comes. There is a Mr. Vander- 
kemp of New York, a correspondent, I believe, of yours, with 
whom I have exchanged some letters without knowing who he 
is. Will you tell me ? I know nothing of the history of the 
Jesuits you mention in four volumes. Is it a good one ? I dis- 
like, with you, their restoration, because it marks a retrograde 
step from light towards darkness. We shall have our follies 
without doubt. Some one or more of them will always be 
afloat. But ours will be the follies of enthusiasm, not of bigotry, 
not of Jesuitism. Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid 
minds ; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and 
free discussion are the antidotes of both. We are destined to be 
a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Old 
Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along 
by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests and kings, 
as she can. What a colossus shall we be when the southern 
continent comes up to our mark ! What a stand will it secure as 
a ralliance for the reason and freedom of the globe ! I like the 
dreams of the future better than the history of the past, — so good 
night ! I will dream on, always fancying that Mrs. Adams and 
yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliqui- 
ties of ages and countries. 


MoNTio'isLi.o, August 6, 1816. 

I have received, dear Madam, your very friendly letter of Jidy 
21st, and assure you that I feel with deep sensibility its kind ex- 


pressioi^s tt wards myself, and the more as from a person than 
whom no others could be more in sympathy with my own af- 
fections. I often call to mind the occasions of knowing your 
worth, which the societies of Washington furnished ; and none 
more than those derived from your much valued visit to Monti- 
cello. I recognize the same motives of goodness in the solici- 
tude you express on the rumor supposed to proceed from a letter 
of mine to Charles Thomson, on the subject of the Christian re- 
ligion. It is true that, in writing to the translator of the Bible 
and Testament, that subject was mentioned ; but equally so that 
no adherence to any particular mode of Christianity "was there 
expressed, nor any change of opinions suggested. A change 
from what ? the priests indeed have heretofore thought proper to 
ascribe to me religious, or rather anti-religious sentiments, of 
their own fabric, but such as soothed their resentments against the 
act of Virginia for establishing religious freedom. They wished 
him to be thought atheist, deist, or devil, who could advocate 
freedom from their religious dictations. But I have ever thought 
religion a concern purely between our God and our consciences, 
for which we were accountable to him, and not to the priests. 
I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I 
never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change anoth- 
er's creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their 
lives, and by this test, my dear Madam, I have been satisfied 
yours must be an excellent one, to have produced a life of such 
exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is in our lives, and not 
from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same 
test the world must judge me. But this does not satisfy the 
priesthood. They must have a positive, a declared assent to all 
their interested absurdities. My opinion is that there would 
never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. 
The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral 
systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, re- 
volts those who think for themselves, and who read in that sys- 
tem only what is really there. These, therefore, they brand with 
such nick-names as their enmity choses gratuitously to impute.- 



I have left the world, in silence, to judge of causes from their 
effects ; and I am consoled in this course, my dear friend, when 
I perceive the candor with which I am judged by your justice 
and discernment ; and that, notwithstanding the slanders of the 
saints, my fellow citizens have thought me worthy of trusts. 
The imputations of irreligion having spent their force ; they think 
an imputation of change might now be turned to account as a 
bolster for their duperies. I shall leave them, as heretofore, to 
grope on in the dark. 

Our family at Monticello is all in good health ; Ellen speaking 
of you with affection, and Mrs. Randolph always regretting the 
accident which so far deprived her of the happiness of your for- 
mer visit. She still cherishes the hope of some future renewal 
of that kindness ; in which we all join her, as in the assurances 
of affectionate attachment and respect. 


Quivcv, August 9, 1816. 

Deab Sir, — The biography of Mr. Vander Kemp would re- 
quire a volume which I could not write if a million were offered 
me as a reward for the work. After a learned and scientific ed- 
ucation he entered the army in Holland, and served as captain, 
with reputation ; but loving books more than arms he resigned 
his commission and became a preacher. My acquaintance with 
him commenced at Leydeh in 1790. He was then minister of 
the Menonist congregation, the richest in Europe ; in that city, 
where he was celebrated' as the most elegant writer in the Dutch 
language, he was the intimate friend of Luzac and De Gyse- 
caar. In 1788, when the King of Prussia threatened Holland 
with invasion, his party insisted on his taking a command in the 
army of defence, and he was appointed to the command of the 
most exposed and most important post in the seven provinces. 
He was soon surrounded by the Prussian forces ; but he defended 
his forti'^ss with a prudence, fortitude, patience, and perseverance, 


which were admired by all Europe ; till, abandoned by his na- 
tion, destitute of provisions and ammunition, still refusing to sur- 
render, he was offered the most honorable capitulation. He ac- 
cepted it ; was offered very advantageous proposals ; but despair- 
ing of the liberties of his country, he retired to Antwerp, deter- 
mined to emigrate to New York ; wrote to me in London, re- 
questing letters of introduction. I sent him letters to Governor 
Clinton, and several others of our little great men. His history 
in .this country is equally curious and affecting. He left property 
in Holland, which the revolutions there have anr.''^'lited ; and I 
fear is now pinched with poverty. His head is deeply learned 
and his heart is pure. I scarcely know a more amiable character. 

*jfc Jt. Jt. Jfc. .It. -M- 

T^ TP 'Tr TV" ^r "re" 

He has written to me occasionally, and I have answered his 
letters in great haste. You may well suppose that such a man 
has not always been able to understand our American politics. 
Nor have I. Had he been as great a master of our language as 
he was of his own, he would have been at this day one of the 
most conspicuous characters in the United States. 

So much for Vander Kemp ; now for your letter of August 1st. 
Your poet, the Ionian I suppose, ought to have told us whether 
Jove, in the distribution of good and evil from his two urns, ob- 
serves any rule of equity or not ; whether he thunders out flames 
of eternal fire on the many, and power, and glory, and felicity on 
the few, without any consideration of justice ? 

Let us state a few questions sub rosd. 

1. Would you accept a life, if offered you, of equal pleasure 
and pain ? For example. One million of moments of pleasure, and 
one million of moments of pain ! (1,000,000 moments of pleas- 
use= 1,000,000 moments of pain.) Suppose the pleasure as ex- 
quisite as. any in life, and the pain as exquisite as any ; for ex- 
ample, stone-gravel, gout,, headache, earache, toothache, cholic, 
&c. I would not. I would rather be blotted out. 

2f Would ■ you accept a life of one year of incessant gout, 
headache, &c., for seventy-two years of such life as you have 
enjoyed? I would not. (One year of cholic = seventy-two of 


Boule de Savon ; pretty, but unsubstantial.) I had rather be ex- 
tinguished. You may vary these Algebraical equations at pleas- 
ure and without end. All, this ratiocination, calculation, call it 
what you will, is founded on the supposition of no future state. 
Promise me eternal life free from pain, although in all other re- 
spects no better than our present terrestrial existence, I know not 
how many thousand years of Smithfield fevers I would not en- 
dure to obtain it. In fine, without the supposition of a future 
state, mankind and this globe appear to me the most sublime and 
beautiful bubble, and bauble, that imagination can conceive. 

Let us then wish for immortality at all hazards, and trust the 
Ruler with his skies. I do ; and earnestly wish for his com- 
mands, which to the utmost of my power shall be implicitly and 
piously obeyed. 

It is worth while to live to read Grimm, whom I have read ; 
and*-La Harpe and Mademoiselle D'Espinasse the fair friend of 
D'Alembert, both of whom Grimm characterizes very distinguish- 
ed, and are, I am told, in print. I have not seen them, but hope 
soon to have them. 

My history of the Jesuits is not elegantly written, but is sup- 
ported by unquestionable authorities, is very particular and very 
horrible. Their restoration is indeed a " step towards darkness," 

cruelty, perfidy, despotism, death and ! I wish we were 

out of " danger of bigotry and Jesuitism" ! May we be " a bar- 
rier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism"! " What a 
colossus shall we be" ! But will it not be of brass, iron and 
clay? Your taste is judicious in liking better the dreams of the 
future, than the history of the past. Upon this principle I proph- 
ecy that you and I shall soon meet, and be better friends thau 
ever. So wishes, J- A. 


MoNTicELLO, A'ligiist 26, 1816. 

SiK, — In answer to your inquiry as to the merits of Gillies' 
translation of the Politics of Aristotle, I can only say that it has 


the reputation of being preferable to Ellis', the only rival trans- 
lation into English. I have never seen it myself, and therefore 
do not speak of it from my own knowledge. Bat so different 
was the style of society then, and with those people, from what 
it is now and with lis, that I think little edification can be ob- 
tained from their writings on the subject of government. They 
had just ideas of the value of personal liberty, but none at all of 
the structure of government best calculated to preserve it. They 
knew no medium between a democracy (the only pure republic, 
but impracticable beyond the hmits of a town) and an abandon- 
ment of themselves t® an aristocracy, or a tyranny independent of 
the people. It seems not to have occurred that where the citizens 
cannot meet to transact their business in person, they alone have 
the right to choose the agents who shall transact it ; and that in 
this way a republican, or popular government, of the second grade 
of purity, may be exercised over any extent of country. The 
full experiment of a government democratical, but representative, 
was and is still reserved for us. The idea (taken, indeed, from 
the little specimen formerly existing in the English constitution, 
but now lost) has been carried by us, more or less, inlo all our 
legislative and executive departments ; but it has not yet, by any 
of us, been pushed into all the ramifications of the system, so 
far as to leave no authority existing not responsible to the people ; 
whose rights, however, to the exercise and fruits of their own 
industry, can never be protected against the selfishness of rulers 
not subject to their control at short periods. The mtroduction 
of this new principle of representative democracy has rendered 
useless almost everything written before on the structure of gov- 
ernment ; and, in a great measure, relieves our regret, if the politi- 
cal writings of Aristotle, or of any other ancient, have been lost, 
or are unfaithfully rendered or explained to us. My most ear- 
nest wish is to see the republican element of popular control 
pushed to the maximum of its practicable exercise. I shall then 
believe that our government may be pure and perpetual. Ac- 
cept my respectful salutations 



QuiNCT, September 3, 1816. 

Dear Sib, — Dr. James Freeman is a learned, ingenious, hon- 
est and benevolent man, who wishes to see President Jefferson, 
and requests me to introduce him. If you would introduce some 
of your friends to me. I could, with more confidence, introduce 
mine to you. He is a Christian, but not a Pythagorian, a Pla- 
tonic, or a Philonic Christian. You will ken him, and he will 
ken you ; but you may depend he will never betray, deceive, or 
injure you. 

Without hinting to him anything which had passed between 
you and nre, I asked him your question, "What are the uses of 
grief?" He stared, and said " The question was new to him." 
All he could say at present was, that he had known, in his own 
parish, more than one instance of ladies who had been thoughtless, 
modish, extravagant in a high degree, who, upon the death of 
a child, had become thoughtful, modest, humble; as prudent, 
amiable women as any he had known. Upon this I read to him 
your letters and mine upon this subject of grief, with which he 
seemed to be pleased. You see I was not afraid to trust him, 
and you need not be. 

Since I am, accidentally, invited to write to you, I may add a 
few words upon pleasures and pains of life. Vassall thought, an 
hundred years, nay, an eternity of pleasure, was no compensa- 
tion for one hour of bihous cholic. Read again Molliores Spsyke, 
act 2d, scene 1st, on the subject of grief. And read in another 
place, " on est paye de mille maux, par un heureux moment." 
Thus differently do men speak of pleasures and pains. Now, 
Sir, I will tease you with another question. What have been 
the abuses of grief ? 

In answer to this question, I doubt not you might write an 
hundred volumes. A few hints may convince you that the sub- 
ject is ample. 

1st. The death of Socrates excited a general sensibility of 
grief at Athens, in Attica, and in all Greece. Plato and Xeho- 

VOL. VII. 3 


phon, two of his disciples, took advantage of that sentiment, by 
emj)ioying their encViauting style to represent their master to be 
greater and better than he probably was ; and what have been 
the effects of Socratic, Platonic, which were Pythagorian, which 
was Indian philosophy, in the world ? 

2d. The death of Caesar, tyrant as he was, spread a general 
compassion, which always includes grief, among the Romans. 
The scoundrel Mark Antony availed himself of this momentary 
grief to destroy the republic, to establish the empire, and to pro- 
scribe Cicero. 

3d. But to skip over all ages and nations for the present, and 
descend to our own times. The death of Washington diffused a 
general grief. The old tories, the hyperfederalists, the specula- 
tors, set up a general howl. Orations, prayers, sermons, mock 
funerals, were all employed, not that they loved Washington, 
but to keep in countenance the funding and banking system ; and 
to cast into the background and the shade, all others who had 
been concerned in the service of their country in the Revolution. 

4th. The death of Hamilton, under all its circumstances, pro- 
duced a general grief His most determined enemies did not 
like to get rid of him in that way. They pitied, too, his widow 
and children. His party seized the moment of public feeling to 
come forward with funeral orations, and printed panegyrics, re- 
inforced with mock funerals and solemn grimaces, and all this 
by people who have buried Otis, Sam Adams, Hancock, and 
Gerry, in comparative obscurity. And why ? Merely to disgrace 
the old Whigs, and keep the funds and banks in countenance. 

5th. The death of Mr. Ames excited a general regret. His 
long consumption, his amiable character, and reputable talents, 
had attracted a general interest, and his death a general 
mourning. His party made the most of it, by processions, 
orations, and a mock funeral. And why ? To glorify the 
Tories, to abash the Whigs, and maintain the reputation of 
fimds, banks, and speculation. And all this was done in honor 
of that insignificant boy, by people who have let a Dance a 
Gerry, and a Dexter, go to their graves without notice. 


6th. I almost shxidder at the thought of alluding to the most 
fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of man- 
kind has preserved — The Cross. Consider what calamities that 
engine of grief has produced ! With the rational respect which 
is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that 
fill, or might fill, the blackest and bloodiest pages of human 

I am with ancient friendly sentiments, 


MoNTicELLO, September 5, 1816. 

Sir, — ^Your letter of August the 16th is just received. That 
which I wrote to you under the address of H. Tompkinson, was 
intended for the author of the pamphlet you were so kind as to 
send me, and therefore, in your hands, found its true destination. 
But I must beseech you. Sir, not to admit a possibility of its 
being published. Many good people will revolt from its doc- 
trines, and my wish is to offend nobody ; to leave to those who 
are to live under it, the settlement'of their own constitution, and 
to pass in peace the remainder of my time. If those opinions 
are sound, they will occur to others, and will prevail by their 
own weight, without the aid of names, I am glad to see that 
the Staunton meeting has rejected the idea of a limited conven- 
tion. The article, however, nearest my heart, is the division of 
counties into wards. These will be pure and elementary repub- 
lics, the sum of all which, taken together, composes the State, 
and will make of the whole a true democracy as to the business 
of the wards, which is that of nearest and daily concern. The 
aifairs of the larger sections, of counties, of States, and of the 
Union, not admitting personal transaction by the people, will be 
delegated to agents elected by themselves ; and representation 
will thus be substituted, where personal action becomes imprac- 
ticable. Yet, even over these representative organs, should they 
become corrupt and perverted, the division into wards constitut- 


ing the people, in their wards, a regularly organized power, en- 
ables them by that organization to crush, regularly and peace- 
ably, the usurpations of their unfaithful agents, and rescues them 
from the dreadful necessity of doing it insurrectionally. In this 
way we shall be as republican as a large society can be ; and 
secure the continuance of purity in our government, by the salu- 
tary, peaceable, and regular control of the people. No other 
depositories of power have ever yet been found, which did not 
end in converting to their own profit the earnings of those com- 
mitted to their charge. George the III. in execution of the trust 
confided to him, has, within his own day, loaded the inhabitants 
of Great Britain with debts equal to the whole fee-simple value 
of their island, and imder pretext of governing it, has alienated 
its whole soil to creditors who could lend money to be lavished 
on priests, pensions, plunder and perpetual war. This would not 
have been so, had the people retained organized means of acting 
on their agents. In this example then, let us read a lesson for 
ourselves, and not " go and do likewise." 

Since writing my letter of July the 12th, I have been told, 
that on the question of equal representation, our fellow citizens in 
some sections of the State claim peremptorily a right of repre- 
sentation for their slaves. Principle will, in this, as in most other 
cases, open the way for us to correct conclusion. Were our State 
a pure democracy, in which all its inhabitants should meet together 
to transact all their business, there would yet be excluded from 
their deliberations, 1, infants, until arrived at years of discretion. 
2. Women, who, to prevent depravation of morals and ambiguity 
of issue, could not mix promiscuously in th§ public; meetings of 
men. 3. Slaves, from whom the unfortunate state of things with 
us takes away the rights of will and of property. Those then 
who have no will could be permitted to exercise none in the pop- 
ular assembly ; and of course, could delegate none to an agent 
in a representative assembly. The business, in the first case, 
would be done by qualified citizens only. It is true, that in 
the general constitution, our State is allowed a larger representa- 
tion on account of its slaves. But every one knows, that that 


constitution was a matter of compromise ; a capitulation between 
conflicting interests and opinions. In truth, the condition of dif- 
ferent descriptions of inhabitants in any coimtry is a matter of 
municipal arrangement, of which no foreign country has a right 
to take notice. All its inhabitants are men as to them. Thus, in 
the New England States, none have the powers of citizens but 
those whom they cbW. freemen ; and none axe freemen until ad- 
mitted by a vote of the freemen of the town. Yet, in the Gen- 
eral Government, these non-freemen are counted in their quantum 
of representation and of taxation. So, slaves with us have no 
powers as citizens ; yet, in representation in the General Govern- 
ment, they count in the proportion of three to five ; and so also 
in taxation. Whether this is equal, is not here the question. It 
is a capitulation of discordant sentiments and circumstances, and 
is obligatory on that ground. But this view shows there is no 
inconsistency in claiming representation for them for the other 
States, and refusing it within our own. Accept the renewal of 
assurances of my respect. 


MoNTiOELLO, October 14, 1816. 

Your letter, dear Sir, of May the 6th, had already well ex- 
plained the uses of grief. That of September the 3d, with equal 
truth, adduces instances of its abuse ; and when we put into the 
same scale these abuses, with the afflictions of soul which even 
the uses of grief cost us, we may conside;r its value in the eco- 
nomy of the human being, as equivocal at least. Those afflictions 
cloud too great a portion of life to find a counterpoise in any 
benefits derived from its uses. For setting aside its paroxysms 
on the occasions of special bereavements, all the latter years of 
aged men are overshadowed with its gloom. Whither, for in- 
stance, can you and I look without seeing the graves of those 
we have known ? And whom can we call up, of our early com 
pamons, who has not left us to regret his loss ? This, indeed 


may be one of the salutary effects of grief; inasmuch as it pre- 
pares us to loose ourselves also without repugnance. Doctor 
Freeman's instances of female levity cured by grief, are certainly 
to the point, and constitute an item of credit in the account we 
examine. I was much mortified by the loss of the Doctor's visit, 
by my absence from home. To have shown how much I feel 
indebted to you for making good people known to me, would 
have been one pleasure ; and to have enjoyed that of his conver- 
sation, and the benefits of his information, so favorably reported 
by my family, would have been another. I returned home on 
the third day after his departure. The loss of such visits is among 
the sacrifices which my divided residence costs me. 

Your undertaking the twelve volumes of Dupuis, is a degree of 
heroism to which I could not have aspired even in my younger 
days. I have been contented with the humble achievement of 
reading the analysis of his work by Destutt Tracy, in two hun- 
dred pages octavo. I believe I should have ventured on his own 
abridgment of the work, in one octavo volume, had it ever come 
to my hands ; but the marrow of it in Tracy has satisfied my ap- 
petite ; and even in that, the preliminary discourse of the analyzer 
himself, and his conclusion, are worth more in my eye than the 
body of the work. For the object of that seems to be to smother 
all history under the mantle of allegory. If histories so unlike as 
those of Hercules and Jesus, can, by a fertile imagination and al- 
legorical interpretations, be brought to the same tally, no line of 
distinction remains between fact and fancy. As this pithy morsel 
will not overburthen the mail in passing and repassing between 
Quincy and Monticello, I send it for your perusal. Perhaps it 
will satisfy you, as it has me ; and may save you the labor of 
reading twenty-four times its volume. I have said to you that it 
was written by Tracy ; and I had so entered it on the title page, 
as I usually do on anonymous works whose authors are known to 
me. But Tracy requested me not to betray his anonyme, for 
reasons which may not yet, perhaps, have ceased to weigh. I am 
bound, then, to make the same reserve with you. Destutt Tracy 
is, in my judgment, the ablest writer living on intellectual sub- 


jects, or the operations of the understanding. His three octavo 
vohimes on Ideology, which constitute the foundation of what 
he has since written, I have not entirely read ; because I am not 
fond of reading what is merely abstract, and unapplied im- 
mediately to some useful science. Bonaparte, with his repeated 
derisions of Ideologists (squinting at this author), has by this time 
felt that true wisdom does not lie in mere practice without prin- 
ciple. The next work Tracy wrote was the Comnaentary on 
Montesquieu, never published in the original, because not safe ; 
but translated and published in Philadelphia, yet without the 
author's name. He has since permitted his name to be men- 
tioned. Although called a Commentary, it is, in truth, an ele- 
mentary work on the principles of government, comprised in 
about three hundred pages octavo. He has lately published a 
third work, on Political Economy, comprising the whole subject 
within about the same compass ; in which all its principles are 
demonstrated with the severity of Euclid, and, like him, without 
ever using a superfluous word. I have procured this to be trans- 
lated, and have been four years endeavoring to get it printed ; 
but as yet, without success. In the meantime, the author has 
published the original in France, which he thought unsafe while 
Bonaparte was in power. No printed copy, I believe, has yet 
reached this country. He has his fourth and last work now in 
the press at Paris, closing, as he conceives, the circle of meta- 
physical sciences. This work, which is on Ethics, I have not 
seen, but suspect I shall differ from it in its foundation, although 
not in its deductions. I gather from his other works that he 
adopts the principle of Hobbes, that justice is founded in contract 
solely, and does not result from the construction of man. I be- 
lieve, on the contrary, that it is instinct and innate, that the moral 
sense is as much a part of our constitution as that of feeling, see- 
ing, or hearing ; as a wise creator must have seen to be necessary 
in an animal destined to live in society ; that every human mind 
feels pleasure in doing good to another ; that the non-existence 
of justice is not to be inferred from the fact that the same act is 
deemed virtuous and right in one society which is held vicious 


and wrong in another ; because, as the circumstances and opin 
ions of different societies vary, so the acts which may do their, 
right or wrong must vary also ; for virtue does not consist in the 
act we do, but in the end it is to effect. If it is to effect the hap- 
piness of liim to whom it is directed, it is virtuous, while in a so- 
ciety under different circumstances and opinions, the same act 
might produce pain, and would be vicious. The essence of virtue 
is in doing good to others, while what is good may be one thing 
in one society, and its contrary in another. Yet, however we 
may differ as to the foundation of morals, (and as many founda- 
tions have been assumed as there are writers on the subject nearly,) 
so correct a thinker as Tracy will give us a sound system of mo- 
rals. And, indeed, it is remarkable, that so many writers, setting 
out from so many different premises, yet meet all in the same 
conclusions. This looks as if they were guided, unconsciously, 
by the unerring hand of instinct. 

Your history of the Jesuits, by what name of the author or 
other description is it to be inquired for ? 

What do you think of the present situation of England ? Is 
not this the great and fatal crush of their funding system, which 
like death, has been foreseen by all, but its hour, like that of 
death, hidden from mortal prescience ? It appears to me that all 
the circumstances now exist which render recovery desperate. 
The interest of the national debt is now equal to such a portion 
of the profits of all the land and the labor of the island, as not 
to leave enough for the subsistence of those who labor. Hence 
the owners of the land abandon it and retire to other countries, 
and the laborer has not enough of his earnings left to him to 
cover his back and to fill his belly. The local insurrections, now 
almost general, are of the hungry and the naked, who cannot be 
quieted but by food and raiment. But where are the means of 
feeding and clothing them ? The landholder has nothing of his 
own to give ; he is but the fiduciary of those who have lent him 
money ; the lender is so taxed in his meat, drink and clothing, 
that he has but a bare subsistence left. The landholder, then, 
must give up his land, or the lender his debt, or they must com- 


promise by giving up each one-half. But will either consent, 
■peaceably, to such an abandonment of property ? Or must it not 
be settled by civil conflict? If peaceably compromised, will 
they agree to risk another ruin under the same government un- 
reformed ? I think not ; but I would rather know what you 
think ; because you have lived with John Bull, and know better 
than I do the character of his herd. 1 salute Mrs. Adams and 
yourself with every sentiment of aff"ectionate cordiality and re- 


/ MuNTiCELio, October 16, 1816. 

Dear Sik, — If it be proposed to place an inscription on the 
capitol, the lapidary style requires that essential facts only should 
be stated, and these with a brevity admitting no superfluous word. 
The essential facts in the two inscriptions proposed are these : 


The reasons for this brevity are that the letters must be of extra- 
ordinary magnitude to be read from below ; that little space is 
allowed them, being usually put into a pediment or in a frize, or 
on a small tablet on the wall ; and in our case, a third reason 
may be added, that no passion can be imputed to this inscription, 
every word being justifiable from the most classical examples. 

But a question of more importance is whether there should be 
one at all ? The barbarism of the conflagration will immortalize 
that of the nation. It will place them forever in degraded com- 
parison with the execrated Bonaparte, who, in possession of 
almost every capitol in Europe, injured no one. Of this, history 
will take care, which all will read, while our inscription will be 
seen by few. Great Britain, in her pride and ascendency, has 
certainly hated and despised us beyond every earthly object. 
Her hatred may remain, but the hour of her contempt is passed 
and is succeeded by dread ; not a present, but a distant and deep 


one. It is the greater as she feels herself plunged into an abyss 
of ruin from which no human means point out an issue. We 
also have more reason to hate her than any nation on earth. Bui 
she is not now an object for hatred. She is falling from her 
transcendant sphere, which all men ought to have -rt^ished, but not 
that she should lose all place among nations. It is for the interest 
of all that she should be maintained, nearly on a par with other 
members of the republic of nations. Her power, absorbed into 
that of any other, would be an object of dread to all, and to us 
more than all, because we are accessible to her alone and through 
.her alone. The armies of Bonaparte with the fleets of Britain, 
would change the aspect of our destinies. Under these prospects 
should we perpetuate hatred against her ? Should we not, on 
the contrary, begin to open ourselves to other and more rational 
dispositions ? It is not improbable that the circumstances of the 
war and her own circumstances may have brought her wise men 
to begin to view us with other and even with kindred eyes. 
Should not our wise men, then, lifted above the passions of the 
ordinary citizen, begin to contemplate what will he the interests of 
our country on so important a change among the elements which 
influence it ? I think it would be better to give her time to show 
her present temper, and to prepare the minds of our citizens for 
a corresponding change of disposition, by acts of comity towards 
England rather than by commemoration of hatred. These 
views might be greatly extended. Perhaps, however, they are 
premature, and that I may see the ruin of England nearer than 
it really is. This will be matter of consideration with those to 
whose councils we have commited ourselves, and whose wisdom 
J am sure, will conclude on what is best. Perhaps they may let 
It go off on the single and short consideration that the thing can 
do no good, and may do harm. Ever and affectionately yours. 



Poplar Foekst, November 25, 1816. 

I receive here, dear Sir, your favor of the 4th, just as I am 
preparing my return to Monticello for winter quarters, and I hasten 
to answer to some of your inquiries. The Tracy I mentioned 
to you is the one connected by marriage with Lafayette's family. 
The mail which brought your letter, brought one also from him. 
He writes me that he is become blind, and so infirm that he is 
no longer able to compose anything. So that we are to consider 
his works as now closed. They are three volumes of Ideology, 
one on Political Economy, one on Ethics, and one containing 
his Commentary on Montesquieu, and a little tract on Education. 
Although his commentary explains his principles of government, 
he had intended to have substituted for it an elementary and reg- 
ular treatise on the subject, but he is prevented by his infirmities. 
His Analyse de Dupuys he does not avow. 

My books are all arrived, some at New York, some at Boston, 
and I am glad to hear that those for Harvard are safe also, and 
the Uranologia you mention without telling me what it is. It is 
something good, I am sure, from the name connected with it ; 
and if you would add to it your fable of the bees, we should re- 
ceive valuable instruction as to the Uranologia both of the father 
and son, more valuable than the Chinese will from our bible so- 
cieties. These incendiaries, finding that the days of fire and 
fagot are over in the Atlantic hemisphere, are now preparing to 
put the torch to the Asiatic regions. What would they say were 
the Pope to send annually to this country, colonies of Jesuit 
priests with cargoes of their missal and translations of their Vul- 
gate, to be put gratis into the hands of every one who would ac- 
cept them ? and to act thus nationally on us as a nation ? 

I proceed to the letter you were so good as to enclose me. It 
is an able letter, speaks volumes in few words, presents a pro- 
found view of awful truths, and lets us see truths more awful, 
which are still to follow. George the Third then, and his 
minister Pitt, and successors, have spent the fee simple of the 


kingdom, under pretence of governing it ; their ' sinecures, sala- 
ries, pensions, priests, prelates, princes and eternal wars, have 
mortgaged to its full value the last foot of their soil. They are 
reduced to the dilemma of a bankrupt spendthrift, who, having 
run through his whole fortune, now asks himself what he is to 
do ? It is in vain he dismisses his coaches and horses, his 
grooms, liveries, cooks and butlers. This done, he still finds he 
has nothing to eat. What was his property is now that of his 
creditors ; if still in his hands, it is only as their trustee. To 
them it belongs, and to them every farthing of its profits must go. 
The reformation of extravagances comes too late. All is gone. 
Nothing left for retrenchment or frugality to go on. The debts 
of England, however, being due from the whole nation to one 
half of it, being as much the debt of the creditor as debtor, if it 
could be referred to a court of equity, principles might be devised 
to adjust it peaceably. Dismiss their parasites, ship off their pau- 
pers to this country, let the landholders give half their lands to 
the money lenders, and these last relinquish one half of their 
debts. They would still have a fertile island, a sound and. ef- 
fective population to labor it, and would hold that station among 
political powers, to which their natural resources and faculties 
entitle them. They would no longer, indeed, be the lords of the 
ocean and paymasters of all the princes of the earth. They 
would no longer enjoy the luxuries of pirating and plundering 
everything by sea, and of bribing and corrupting everything by 
land ; but they might enjoy the more safe and lasting luxury of 
living on terms of equality, justice and good neighborhood with 
all nations. As it is, their first efforts will probably be to quiet 
things a'while by the palliatives of reformation ; to nibble a little 
at pensions and sinecures, to bite off a bit here, and a bite there 
to amuse the people ; and to keep the government a going by 
encroachments on the interest of the public debt, one per cent, 
of which, for instance, withheld, gives them a spare revenue of ten 
millions for present subsistence, and spunges, in fact, two hundred 
millions of the debt. This remedy they may endeavor to ad- 
minister in broken doses of a small pill at a time. The first 


may not occasion more than a strong nausea in the money lend- 
ers ; but the second will probably produce a revulsion of the 
stomach, borborisms, and spasmodic calls for fair settlement and 
compromise. But it is not in the character of man to come 
to any peaceable compromise of such a state of things. The 
princes and priests will hold to the flesh-pots, the empty bellies will 
seize on them, and these being the multitude, the issue is ob- 
vious, civil war, massacre, exile as in Prance, until the stage is 
cleaned of everything but the multitude, and the lands get 
into their hands by such processes as the revolution will en- 
gender. They will then want peace and a government, and 
what will it be ? certainly not a renewal of that which has al- 
ready ruined them. Their habits of law and order, their ideas 
almost innate of the vital elements of free government, of trial 
by jury, habeas corpus, freedom of the press, freedom of opin- 
ion, and representative government, make them, I think, capa- 
ble of bearing a considerable portion of liberty. They will 
probably turn their eyes to us, and be disposed to tread in our 
footsteps, seeing how safely these have led us into port. There 
is no part of our model to which they seem unequal, unless per- 
haps the elective presidency ; and even that might possibly be 
rescued from the tumult of elections, by subdividing the electoral 
assemblages into very small parts, such as of wards or town- 
ships, and making them simultaneous. But you know them so 
much better than I do, that it is presumption to offer my conjec- 
tures to you. 

While it is much our interest to see this power reduced from 
its towering and borrowed height, to within the limits of its 
natural resources, it is by no means our interest that she should 
be brought below that, or lose her competent place among the 
nations of Europe. The present exhausted state of the conti- 
nent will, I hope, permit them to go through their struggle with- 
out foreign interference, and to settle their new government ac- 
cording to their own will. I think it will be friendly to us, as 
the nation itself would be were it not artfully wrought up by 
the hatred their government bears us. And were they once un- 


der a government which should treat us with justice and equity. 
I should myself feel with great strength the ties which bind us 
together, of origin, language, laws and manners ; and I am per- 
suaded the two people would become in future, as it was with 
the ancient Greeks, among whom it was reproachful for Greek 
to be found fighting against Greek in a foreign army. The in 
dividvals of the nation I have ever honored and esteemed, the 
basis of their character being essentially worthy ; but I consider 
their government as the most flagitious which has existed since 
the days of Philip of Macedon, whom they make their model. 
It is not only founded in corruption itself, but insinuates the 
same poison into the bowels of every other, corrupts its councils, 
nourishes factions, stirs up revolutions, and places its own happi- 
ness in fomenting commotions and civil wars among others, thus 
rendering itself truly the hostis humani generis. The effect is 
now coming home to itself. Its first operation will fall on the 
individuals who have been the chief instruments in its corrup- 
tions, and will eradicate the families which have from generation 
to generation been fattening on the blood of their brethren ; and 
this scoria once thrown off, I am in hopes a purer nation will re- 
sult, and a purer government be instituted, one which, instead of 
endeavoring to make us their natural enemies, will see in us, 
what we really are, their natural friends and brethren, and more 
interested in a fraternal connection with them than with any oth- 
er nation on earth. I look, therefore, to their revolution with 
great interest. I wish it to be as moderate and bloodless as will 
effect the desired object of an honest government, one which 
will permit the world to live in peace, and under the bonds of 
friendship and good neighborhood. 

In this tremendous tempest, the distinctions of whig and tory 
will disappear like chaff on a troubled ocean. Indeed, they have 
been disappearing from the day Hume first began to publish his 
history. This single book has done more to sap the free princi- 
ples of the English constitution than the largest standing army 
of which their patriots have been so jealous. It is like the por- 
traits of our countryman Wright, whose eye was so unhappy as 


to seize all the ugly features of his subject, and to present them 
faithfully, while it "was entirely insensible to every lineament of 
beauty. So Hume has concentrated, in his fascinating style, all 
the arbitrary proceedings of the English kings, as true evidences 
of the constitution, and glided over its whig principles as the 
unfounded pretensions of factious demagogues. He even boasts, 
in his life written by himself, that of the numerous alterations 
suggested by the readers of his work, he had never adopted one 
proposed by a whig. 

But what, in this same tempest, will become of their colonies 
and their fleets ? Will the former assume independence, and the 
latter resort to piracy for subsistence, taking possession of some 
island as a point d'appui ? A pursuit of these would add too 
much to the speculations on the situation and prospects of Eng- 
land, into which I have been led by the pithy text of the letter 
you so kindly sent me, and which I now return. It is worthy 
the pen of Tacitus. I add, therefore, only my afiectionate and 
respectful souvenirs to Mrs. Adams and yourself. 


Quixoy, December 16, 1816. 

Your letter, dear Sir, of November 25th, from Poplar Forest, 
was sent to me from the post-ofiice the next day after I had sent 
" The Analysis," with my thanks to you. 

" Three vols, of Idiology !" Pray explain to me this Neologi- 
cal title ! "What does it mean ? When Bonaparte used it, I was 
delighted with it, upon the common principle of delight in every- 
thing we cannot understand. Does it mean Idiotism ? The 
science of non compos mentuism ? The science of Lunacy ? The 
theory of delirium ? or does it mean the science of self-love ? Of 
amour propre ? or the elements of vanity ? 

Were I in France at this time, I could profess blindness and 
infirmity, and prove it too. I suppose he does not avow the an- 
alysis, as Hume did not avow his essay on human nature. That 


analysis, however, does not show a man of excessive mediocrity. 
Had I known any of these things two years ago, I would have 
written him a letter. Of all things, I wish to see his Idiology 
upon Montesquieu. If you, with all your iniluence, have not 
been able to get your own translation of it, with your own notes 
upon it, jTublished in four years, where and what is the freedom 
of the American press? Mr. Taylor of Hazelwood, Port Royal, 
can have his voluminous and luminous works published with 
ease and despatch. 

The Uranologia, as I am told, is a collection of plates, stamps, 
charts of the Heavens upon a large scale, representing all the 
constellations. The work of some Professor in Sweden. It is 
said to be the most perfect that ever has appeared. I have not 
seen it. Why should I ride fifteen miles to see it, when I can 
see the original every clear evening ; and especially as Dupuis 
has almost made me afraid to inquire after anything more of it 
than I can see with my naked eye in a star-light night ? 

That the Pope will send Jesuits to this country, I doubt not ; 
and the church of England, missionaries too. And the Metho- 
dists, and the Quakers, and the Moravians, and the Swedenburg- 
ers, and the Menonists, and the Scottish Kirkers, and the Jacobites, 
and the Jacobins, and the Democrats, and the Aristocrats, and the 
Monarchists, and the Despotists of all denominations : and every 
emissary of every one of these sects will find a part} here already 
formed, to give him a cordial reception. No power or intelligence 
less than Raphael's moderator, can reduce this chaos to order. 

I am charmed with the fluency and rapidity of your reasoning 
on the state of Great Britain. I can deny none of your premises ; 
but I doubt your conclusion. After all the convvJsions that you 
foresee, they will return to that constitution which you say has 
ruined them, and I say has been the source of all their power and 
importance. They have, as you say, too much sense and knowl- 
edge of liberty, ever to submit to simple monarchy, or absolute 
despotism, on the one hand ; and too much of the devil in them 
ever to be governed by popular elections of Presidents, Senators, 
and Representatives in Congress. Instead of " turning their eyes 


to ns," their innate feelings will turn them from us. They have 
been taught from their cradles to despise, scorn, insult, and abuse 
us. They hate us more vigor(5usly than they do the French. 
They would sooner adopt the simple monarchy of France, than 
our republican institutions. You compliment me with more 
knowledge of them than I can assume or pretend. If I should 
write you a volume of observations I made in England, you 
would pronounce it a satire. Suppose the " Refrain," as, the 
French call it, or the Burthen of the Song, as the English express 
it, should be, the Religion, the Government, the Commerce, the 
Manufactures, the Army and Navy of Great Britain, are all re- 
duced to the science of pounds, shillings and pence. Elections 
appeared to me a mere commercial traffic ; mere bargain and sale. 
I have been told by sober, steady freeholders, that " they never 
had been, and never would go to the poll, without being paid 
for their time, travel and expenses." • Now, suppose an election 
for a President of the British empire. There must be a nomina- 
tion of candidates by a national convention, Congress, or caucus 
— ^in which would be two parties — Whigs and Tories. Of course 
two candidates at least would be nominated. The empire is in- 
stantly divided into two parties at least. Every man must be 
paid for his vote by the candidate of his party. The only ques- 
tion would be, which party has the deepest purse. The same 
reasoning will apply to elections of Senators and Representatives 
too. A revolution might destroy the Burroughs and the Inequali- 
ties of representation, and might produce more toleration; and 
these acquisitions might be worth all they would cost ; but I dread 
the experiment. 

Britain will never be our friend till we are her master. 

This will happen in less time than you and I have been strug- 
gling with her power ; provided we remain united. Aye ! there's 
the rub ! I fear there will be greater difficulties to preserve our 
Union, than you and I, our fathers, brothers, friends, disciples 
and sons have had, to form it. Towards Great Britain, I would 
adopt their own maxim. An EngHsh jockey says, " If I have a 
wild horse to break, I begin by convincing him I am his master ; 

VOL. VII. 4 


and then I will convince him that I am his friend." I am weL 
assured that nothing will restrain Great Britam from injuring us, 
but fear. 

You think that " in a revolution the distinction of Whig and 
Tory would disappear." I cannot believe this. That distinc- 
tion arises from nature and society ; is now, and ever will be, 
time without end, among Negroes, Indians, and Tartars, as well 
as federalists and republicans. Instead of "disappearing since 
Hume published his history," that history has only increased the 
Tories and diminished the Whigs. That history has been the 
bane of Great Britain. It has destroyed many of the best effects 
of the revolution of 1688. Style has governed the empire. 
Swift, Pope and Hume, have disgraced all the honest historians. 
Rapin and Burnet, Oldmixen and Coke, contain more honest 
truth than Hume and Clarendon, and all their disciples and imi- 
tators. But who reads any of them at this day ? Every one of 
the fine arts from the earliest times has been enlisted in the ser- 
vice of superstition and despotism. The whole world at this day 
gazes with astonishment at the grossest fictions, because they 
have been immortalized by the most exquisite artists — Homer 
and Milton, Phideas and Raphael. The rabble of the classic 
skies, and the hosts of Roman Catholic saints and angels, are 
still adored in paint, and marble, and verse. Raphael has sketched 
the actors and scenes in all Apuleus's Amours of Psyche and 
Cupid. Nothing is too offensive to morals, delicacy, or decency, 
for this painter. Raphael has painted in one of the most osten- 
tatious churches in Italy — the Creation — and with what genius ? 
God Almighty is represented as leaping into chaos, and boxing 
it about with his fists, and kicking it about with his feet, till he 
tumbles it into order ! 

Nothing is too impious or profane for this great master, who 
has painted so many inimitable virgins and children. 

To help me on in my career of improvement, I have now read 
four volumes of La Harpe's correspondence with Paul and a Rus- 
sian minister. Philosophers! Never again think of annuling 
superstition per Saltum, Testine cente. 



MoNTioELLo, Peoembei' 31, 181fi. 
Sir, — Your favor of November 23d, after a very long passage, 
is received, and with it the map which you have been so kind 
as to send me, for which I return you many thanks. It is hand- 
somely executed, and on a well-chosen scale ; giving a luminous 
view of the comparative possessions of different powers in our 
America. It is on account of the value I set on it, that I will 
make some suggestions. By the charter of Louis XIV. all the 
country comprehending the waters which flow into the Missis- 
sippi, was made a part of Louisiana. Consequently its northern 
boundary was the summit of the highlands in which its north- 
ern waters rise. But by the Xth Art. of the Treaty of Utrecht, 
France and England agreed to appoint commissioners to settle the 
boundary between their possessions in that quarter, and those 
commissioners settled it at the 49th degree of latitude. See 
Hutchinson's Topographical Description of Louisiana, p. 7. This 
it was which induced the British Commissioners, in settling the 
boundary with us, to follow the northern water line to the Lake 
of the Woods, at the latitude of 49°, and then go off on that 
parallel. This, then, is the true northern boundary of Louisiana. 
The western boundary of Louisiana is, rightfully, the Rio 
Bravo, (its main stream,) from its mouth to its scarce, and thence 
along the highlands and mountains dividing the waters of the 
Mississippi from those of the Pacific. The usurpations of Spain 
on the east side of that river, have induced geographers to sup- 
pose the Puerco or Salado to be the boundary. The line along 
the highlands stands on the charter of Louis XIV. that of the 
Rio Bravo, on the circumstance that, when La Salle took pos- 
session of the Bay of St. Bernard, Panuco was the nearest pos- 
session of Spain, and the Rio Bravo the natural half-way boun- 
dary between them. 

On the waters of the Pacific, we can found no claim in right 
of Louisiana. If we claim that country at all, it must be on 
Astor's settlement near the mouth of the Columbia, and the prin- 


ciple of the jus gentium of America, that when a civilized na- 
tion takes possession of the mouth of a river in a new country, 
that possession is considered as inckiding all its waters. 

The line of latitude of the southern source of the multnomat 
might be claimed as appurtenant to Astoria. For its northern 
boundary, I believe an understanding has been come to between 
our government and Russia, which might be known from some 
of its members. I do not know it. 

Although the irksomeness of writing, which you may perceive 
from the present letter, and its labor, oblige me now to withdraw 
from letter writing, yet the wish that your map should set to 
rights the ideas of our own countrymen, as well as foreign n^i- 
tions, as to our correct boundaries, has induced me to make these 
suggestions, that you may bestow on them whatever inquiry 
they may merit. I salute you with esteem and respect. 


MoNTioELLO, January 11, 1817. 

I owe you, dear Madam, a thousand thanks for the letters com- 
municated in your favor of December 15th, and now returned. 
They give me more information than I possessed before, of the 
family of Mr. Tracy. But what is infinitely interesting, is the 
scene of the exchange of Louis XVIII. for Bonaparte. What 
lessons of wisdom Mr. Adams must have read in that short space 
of time ! More than fall to the lot of others in the course of a 
long life. Man, and the man of Paris, under those circumstances, 
must have been a subject of profound speculation ! It would 
be a singular addition to that spectacle, to see the same beast in 
the cage of St. Helena, like a lion in the tower. That is prob- 
ably the closing verse of the chapter of his crimes. But not so 
with Louis. He has other vicissitudes to go through. 

I communicated the letters, according to your permission, to 
my grand-daughter, Ellen Randolph, who read them with pleas- 
ure and edification. She is justly sensible of, and flattered by 


your kind notice of her ; and additionally so, by the favorable 
recollections of our northern yisiting friends. If Monticello has 
anything which has merited their remembrance, it gives it a 
value the more in our estimation ; and could I, in the spirit of 
your wish, count backwards a score of years, it would not be 
long before Ellen and myself would pay our homage personally 
to Q,uincy. But those twenty years ! Alas ! where are they ? 
With those beyond the flood. Our next meeting must then be 
in the country to which they have flown, — a country for us not 
now very distant. For this journey we shall need neither gold nor 
silver in our purse, nor scrip, nor coats, nor staves. Nor is the 
provision for it more easy than the preparation has been kind. 
Nothing proves more than this, that the Being who presides over 
the world is essentially benevolent. Stealing from us, one by 
one, the faculties of enjoyment, searing our sensibilities, leading 
us, like the horse in his mill, round and round the same beaten 

To see what we have seen, 

To taste the tasted, and at each return 

Less tasteful ; o'er our palates to decant 

Another vintage — 

Untn satiated and fatigued with this leaden iteration, we ask our 
own conge. I heard once a very old friend, who had troubled 
himself with neither poets nor philosophers, say the same thing 
in plain prose, that he was tired of pulling off his shoes and 
stockings at night, and putting them on again in the morning. 
The wish to stay here is thus gradually extinguished ; but not 
so easily that of returning once, in awhile, to see how things 
have gone on. Perhaps, however, one of the elements of future 
felicity is to be a constant and unimpassioned view of what is 
passing here. If so, this may well supply the wish of occasional 
visits. Mercier has given us a vision of the year 2440 ; but 
prophecy is one thing, and history another. On the whole, how- 
ever, perhaps it is wise and well to be contented with the good 
things which the master of the feast places before us, and to be 
thankful for what we have, rather than thoughtful about what 


we have not. You and I, dear Madam, have aheady had more 
than an ordinary portion of life, and more, too, of health than the 
general measure. On this score I owe boundless thankfulness. 
Your health was, some time ago, not so good as it has been ; and 
I perceive in the letters communicated, some complaints still. I 
hops it is restored ; and that life and health may be continued to 
you as many years as yourself shall wish, is the sincere prayer 
of your affectionate and respectful friend. 


MoNTicELLO, January 11, ISlT. 
Deab Sik, — Forty-three volumes read in one year, and twelve 
of them quarto ! Dear Sir, how I envy you ! Half a dozen 
octavos in that space of time, are as much as I am allowed. I 
can read by candlelight only, and stealing long hours from my 
rest ; nor would that time be indulged to me, could I by that 
light see to write. Prom sunrise to one or two o'clock, and 
often from dinner to dark, I am drudging at the writing table. 
And all this to answer letters into which neither interest nor in- 
clination on my part enters ; and often from persons whose names 
I have never before heard. Yet, writing civilly, it is hard to re- 
fuse them civil answers. This is the burthen of my life, a very 
grievous one indeed, and one which I must get rid of. Dela- 
plaine lately requested me to give him a line on the subject of 
his book ; meaning, as I well knew, to publish it. This I con- 
stantly refuse ; but in this instance yielded, that in saying a word 
for him, I might say two for myself. I expressed in it freely my 
suflFerings from this source ; hoping it would have the effect of 
an indirect appeal to the discretion of those, strangers and others, 
who, in the most friendly dispositions, oppress me with their 
concerns, their pursuits, their projects, inventions and specula- 
tions, political, moral, religious, mechanical, mathematical, his- 
torical, &c., &c., &c. I hope the appeal will bring me relief, 
and that I shall be left to exercise and enjoy correspondence with 


the friends I love, and on subjects which they, or my own in- 
clinations present. In that case, your letters shall not be so long 
on my files unanswered, as sometimes they have been, to my 
great mortification. 

To advert now to the subjects of those of December the 12th 
and 16th. Tracy's Commentaries on Montesquieu have never 
been published in the original. Duane printed a translation from 
th« original manuscript a few years ago. It sold, I believe, 
readily, and whether a copy can now be had, I doubt. If it can, 
you will receive it from my bookseller in Philadelphia, to whom 
I now write for that purpose. Tracy comprehends, under the 
word " Ideology," all the subjects which the French term Morale, 
as the correlative to Physique. His works on Logic, Govern- 
ment, Political Economy and Morality, he considers as making 
up the circle of ideological subjects, or of those which are within 
the scope of the understanding, and not of the senses. His 
Logic occupies exactly the ground of Locke's work on the Un- 
derstanding. The translation of that on Political Economy is 
now printing ; but it is no translation of mine. I have only had 
the correction of it, which was, indeed, very laborious. Le pre- 
mier jet having been by some one who understood neither 
French or English, it was impossible to make it more than faith- 
ful. But it is a valuable work. 

The result of your fifty or sixty years of religious reading, in 
the four words, " Be just and good," is that in which all our in- 
quiries must end ; as the riddles of all the priesthoods end in four 
more, "ttfii panis, ibi deus." What all agree in, is probably 
right. What no two agree in, most probably wrong. One of 
our fan-coloring biographers, who paints small men as very great, 
inquired of me lately, with real affection too, whether he might 
consider as authentic, the change in my religion much spoken 
of in some circles. Now this supposed that they knew what 
had been my religion before, taking for it the word of their 
priests, whom I certainly never made the confidants of my creed. 
My answer was, " say nothing of my religion. It is known to 
my God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to 


be sought in my life ; if that has been honest and dutiful to so- 
ciety, the rehgion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one." 
Affectionately adien. 


MoNTiOELLo, January 16. 1817. 

Deak Sir, — I received, three days ago, a letter from M. Martin, 
2d Vice President, and M. Parmantier, Secretary of " the French 
Agricultural and Manufacturing Society," dated at Philadelphia the 
5th instant. It covered resolutions proposing to apply to Con- 
gress for a grant of two hundred and fifty thousand acres of 
land on the Tombigbee, and stating some of the general princi- 
ples on which the society was to be founded ; and their letter 
requested me to tr^ce for them the basis of a social pact for the 
local regulations of their society, and to address the answer to 
yourself, their 1st Vice President at Washington. No one can 
be more sensible than I am of the honor of their confidence in 
me, so flatteringly manifested in this resolution ; and certainly 
no one can feel stronger dispositions than myself to be useful to 
them, as well in return for this great mark of their respect, as 
from feelings for the situation of strangers, forced by the misfor- 
tunes of their native country to seek another by adoption, so 
distant and so different from that in all its circumstances. I 
commiserate the hardships they have to encounter, and equally 
applaud the resolution with which they meet them, as well as 
the principles proposed for their government. That their emi- 
gration may be for the happiness of their descendants, I can be- 
lieve ; but from the knowledge I have of the country they have 
left, and its state of social intercourse and comfort, their own 
personal happiness will undergo severe trial here. The laws, 
however, which must effect this must flow from their own habits, 
their own feelings, and the resources of their own minds. No 
stranger to these could possibly propose regulations adapted to 
them. Every people have their own particular habits, ways of 
ihinking, manners, &c., which have grown up with them from 


their infancy are become a part ot their nature, and to which the 
regulations which are to make them happy must be accommodated. 
No member of a foreign country can have a sufficient sympathy 
with these. The institutions of Lycui-gus, for example, would 
not have suited Athens, nor those of Solon, Lacedsemon. The 
organizations of Locke were impracticable for Carolina, and those 
of Rousseau and Mably for Poland. Turning inwardly on my- 
self from these eminent illustrations of the truth of my observa- 
tion, I feel all the presumption it would manifest, should I under- 
take to do what this respectable society is alone qualified to do 
suitably for itself. There are some preliminary questions, too, 
which are particularly for their own consideration. Is it pro- 
posed that this shall be a separate State ? or a county of a State ? 
or a mere voluntary association, as those of the Q,uakers, Dun- 
kars, Menonists ? A separate State it cannot be, because from 
the tract it asks it would not be more than twenty miles square ; 
and in establishing new States, regard is had to a certain degree 
of equality in size. If it is to be a county of a State, it cannot 
be governed by its own laws, but must be subject to those of the 
State of which it is a part. If merely a voluntary association, 
the submission of its members will be merely voluntary also ; as 
no act of coercion would be permitted by the general law. 
These considerations must control the society, and themselves 
alone can modify their own intentions and wishes to them. With 
this apology for declining a task to which I am so unequal, I 
pray them to be assured of my sincere wishes for their success 
and happiness, and yourself particularly of my high considera- 
tion and esteem. 


MoNTiCELLO, February 8, ISlT. 

3eae Sik, — Your favor of January 2d did not come to my 
hands until the 5th instant. I concur entirely in your leading 
principles of gradual emancipation, of establishment on the coast 


of Africa, and the patronage of our nation until the emigrants 
shall be able to protect themselves. The subordinate details 
might be easily arranged. But the bare proposition of purchase 
by the United States generally, would excite infinite indignation 
in all the States north of Maryland. The sacrifice must fall on 
the States alone which hold them ; and the difficult question will 
be how to lessen this so as to reconcile our fellow citizens to it. 
Personally I am ready and desirous to niake any sacrifice which 
shall ensure their gradual but complete retirement from the State, 
and efiectually, at the same time, establish them elsewhere in free- 
dom and safety. But I have not perceived the growth of this 
disposition in the rising generation, of which I once had san- 
guine hopes. No symptoms inform me that it will take place in 
my day. I leave it, therefore, to time, and not at all without 
hope that the day will come, equally desirable and welcome to 
us as to them. Perhaps the proposition now on the carpet at 
Washington to provide an establishment on the coast of Africa 
for voluntary emigrations of people of color, may be the corner 
stone of this future edifice. Praying for its completion as early 
as may most promote the good of all, I salute you with great 
esteem and respect. 


QuiNOY, April 19, 1811. 

Dear Sir, — My loving and beloved friend Pickering, has been 
pleased to inform the world that I have " few friends." I want- 
ed to whip the rogue, and I had it in my power, if it had been 
in my will to do it, till the blood came. But all my real friends, 
as I thought then, with Dexter and Gray at their head, insisted 
" that I should not say a word ; that nothing that such a person 
could write would do me the least injury ; that it would betray 
the constitution and the government, if a President, out or in, 
should enter into a newspaper' controversy with one of his min- 
isters, whom he had removed from his office, in. justification of 


himself for that removal, or anything else ;" and they talked a 
great deal about the Dignity of the office of President, which I 
do not find that any other person, public or private regards very 

Nevertheless, I fear that Mr. Pickering's information is too true. 
It is impossible that any man should run such a gauntlet as I 
have been driven through, and have many friends at last. This 
" all who know me know," though I cannot say ; who love me, 

I have, however, either friends who wish to amuse and solace 
my old age, or enemies who mean to heap coals of fire on my 
head, and kill me with kindness ; for they overwhelm me with 
books from all quarters, enough to obfuscate all eyes, and smoth- 
er and stifle all human understanding. Chateaubriand, Grinim, 
Tucker, Dupuis, La Harpe, Sismondi, Eustace, a new transla- 
tion of Herodotus, by Bedloe, with more notes than text. What 
should I do with all this lumber ? I make my " woman-kind," 
as the antiquary expresses it, read to me all the English, but as 
they will not read the French, I am obliged to excruciate my 
eyes to read it myself ; and all to what purpose ? I verily be- 
lieve I was as wise and good, seventy years ago, as I am now. 
At that period Lemuel Bryant was my parish priest, and Joseph 
Cleverly my Latin schoolmaster. Lemuel was a jolly, jocular, 
and liberal scholar and divine. Joseph a scholar and a gentle- 
man ; but a bigoted Episcopalian, of the school of Bishop 
Saunders, and Dr. Hicks, — a downright conscientious, passive 
obedience man, in Church and State. The parson and the peda- 
gogue lived much together, but were eternally disputing about 
government and religion. One day, when the schoolmaster had 
been more than commonly fanatical, and declared " if he were 
a monarch, he would have but one religion in his dominions ;" 
the parson coolly replied, " Cleverly ! you would be the best man 
in the world if you had no reUgion." 

Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been 
on the point of breaking out, " This would be the best of all 
possible worlds, if there were no rehgion in it ! ! !" But in this 


exclamation I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Clever- 
ly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to 
be mentioned in polite society, I mean hell. So far from be- 
lieving in the total and universal depravity of human nature, I 
believe there is no' individual totally depraved. The most aban- 
doned scoundrel that ever existed, never yet wholly extinguished 
his conscience, and while conscience remains there is some re- 
ligion. Popes, Jesuits, and Sorbonists, and Inquisitors, have some 
conscience and some religion. So had Marius and Sylla, Caesar, 
Catiline and Antony; and Augustus had not much more, let 
Virgil and Horace say what they will. 

What shall we think of Virgil and Horace, Sallust, duintil- 
ian, Pliny, and even Tacitus ? and even Cicero, Brutus and Sene- 
ca ? Pompey I leave out of the question, as a mere politician and 
soldier. Every one of the great creatures has left indelible 
marks of conscience, and consequently of religion, though every 
one of them has left abundant proofs of profligate violations of 
their consciences by their little and great passions and paltry in- 

The vast prospect of mankind, which these books have passed 
in review before me, from the most ancient records, histories, tra- 
ditions and fables, that' remain to us to the present day, has sick- 
ened my very soul, and almost reconciled me to Swift's travels 
among the Yahoos ; yet I never can be a misanthrope — Homo 
sum. I must hate myself before I . can hate my fellow men ; 
and that I cannot, and will not do. No ! I will not hate any of 
them, base, brutal, and devilish as some of them have been to me. 

From the bottom of my soul, I pity my fellow men. Fears 
and terrors appear to have produced an universal credulity. Fears 
of calamities in life, and punishments after death, seem to have 
possessed the souls of all men. But fear of pain and death, 
here, do not seem to have been so unconquerable, as fear of what 
is to come hereafter. Priests, Hierophants, Popes, Despots, Em- 
perors, Kings, Princes, Nobles, have been as credulous as shoe- 
blacks, boots and kitchen scullions. The former seem to have 
believed in their divine rights as sincerely as the latter. 


Auto de fees, in Spain and Portugal, have been celebrated with 
as good faith as excommunications have been practised in Con- 
necticut, or as baptisms have been refused in Philadelphia. 

How is it possible that mankind should submit to be governed, 
as they have been, is to me an inscrutable mystery. How they 
could bear to be taxed to build the temple of Diana at Ephesus, 
the pyramids of Egypt, Saint Peter's at Rome, Notre Dame at 
Paris, St. Paul's in London, with a million et ceteras, when my 
navy yards and my quasi army made such a popMar clamor, I 
know not. Yet all my peccadillos never excited such a rage as 
the late compensation law ! 

I congratulate you on the late election in Connecticut. It is 
a kind of epocha. Several causes have conspired. One which 
you would not suspect. Some one, no doubt instigated by the 
devil, has taken it into his head to print a new edition of the 
" Independent Whig," even in Connecticut, and has scattered the 
volumes through the State. These volumes, it is said, have pro- 
duced a burst of indignation against priestcraft, bigotry and in- 
tolerance, and in conjunction with other causes, have produced 
the late election. 

When writing to you I never know when to subscribe, 

J. A. 


MoNTicELLo, May 5, 1817. 

Dear Sik, — Absences and avocations had prevented my ac- 
knowledging your favor of February the 2d, when that of April 
the 19th arrived. I had not the pleasure of receiving the former 
by the hands of Mr. Lyman. His business probably carried him 
in another direction ; for I am far inland, and distant from the 
great line of communication between the trading cities. Your 
recommendations are always welcome, for indeed, the subjects 
of them always merit that welcome, and some of them in an ex- 
traordinary degree. They make us acquainted with what there 
is excellent in our ancient sister State of Massachusetts, once 


venerated and beloved, and still hanging on our hopes, for what 
need we despair of after the resurrection of Connecticut to light 
and liberality. I had believed that the last retreat of monkish 
darkness, bigotry, and abhorrence of those advances of the mind 
which had carried the other States a century ahead of them. 
They seemed still to be exactly where their forefathers were 
when they schismatized from the covenant of works, and to con- 
sider as dangerous heresies all innovations good or bad. I join 
you, therefore, in sincere congratulations that this den of the 
priesthood is at length broken up, and that a Protestant Popedom 
is no longer to disgrace the American history and character. If 
by religion we are to understand sectarian dogmas, in which no 
two of them agree, then your exclamation on that hypothesis is 
just, " that this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there 
were no religion in it." But if the moral precepts, innate in man, 
and made a part of his physical constitution, as necessary for a 
social being, if the sublime doctrines of philanthropism and deism 
taught us by Jesus of Nazareth, in which all agree, constitute 
true religion, then, without it, this would be, as you again say, 
" something not fit to be named, even indeed, a hell." 

You certainly acted wisely in taking no notice of what the 
malice of Pickering could say of you. ^Were such things to be 
answered, our lives would be wasted in the filth of fendings and 
provings, instead of being employed in promoting the happiness 
and prosperity of our fellow citizens. The tenor of your life is 
the proper and sufiicient answer. It is fortunate for those in 
public trust, that posterity will judge them by their works, and 
not by the malignant vituperations and invectives of the Picker- 
ings and Gardiners of their age. After all, men of energy of 
character must have enemies ; because there are two sides to 
every question, .ind taking one with decision, and acting on it 
with effect, those who take the other will of course be hostile in 
proportion as they feel that eff'ect. Thus, in the revolution, Han- 
cock and the Adamses were the raw-head and bloody bones of 
tories and traitors who yet knew nothing of you personally but 
what was good. I do not entertain your apprehensions for the 


happiness of our brother Madison in a state of retirement. Such 
a mind as his, fraught with information and with matter for re- 
flection, can never know ennui. Besides, there will always be 
work enough cut out for him to continue his active usefulness to 
his country. For example, he and Monroe (the President) are 
now here on the work of a collegiate institution to be established 
in our neighborhood, of which they and myself are three of six 
visitors. This, if it succeeds, will raise up children for Mr. Mad- 
ison to employ his attention through life. I say if it succeeds ; 
for we have two very essential wants in our way, first, means to 
compass our views ; and, second, men qualified to fulfil them. 
And these, you will agree, are essential wants indeed. 

I am glad to find you have a copy of Sismondi, because his 
is a field familiar to you, and on which you can judge him. His 
work is highly praised, but I have not yet read it. I have been 
occupied and delighted with reading another work, the title of 
which did not promise much useful information or amusement, 
" V Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani dal Micali." It has 
often, you know, been a subject of regret, that Carthage had no 
writer to give her side of her own history, while her wealth, 
power and splendor, prove she must have had a very distinguish- 
ed policy and government. Micali has given the counterpart of 
the Roman history, for the nations over which they extended 
their dominion. For this he has gleaned up matter from every 
quarter, and furnished materials for reflection and digestion to 
those who, thinking as they read, have perceived that there was 
a great deal of matter behind the curtain, could that be fully 
withdrawn. He certainly gives new views of a nation whose 
splendor has masked and palliated their barbarous ambition. 1 
am now reading Botta's history of our own Revolution. Bating 
the ancient practice which he has adopted, of putting speeches 
into mouths which never made them, and fancying motives of 
action which we never felt, he has given that history with more 
detail, precision and candor, than any writer I have yet met with. 
It is, to be sure, compiled from those writers ; but it is a good se- 


cretion of their matter, the pure from the impure, and presented 
in a just sense of right, in opposition to usurpation. 

Accept assurances for Mrs. Adams and yourself of my affec- 
tionate esteem and respect. 


MoNTioELLo, May 10, 1S17. 

Deab Sib, — ^Your favor of April 2d is duly received. I am 
very sensible of the partiality with which you are so good as to 
review the course I have held in public life, and I have also to 
be thankful to mjr fellow-citizens for a like indulgence generally 
shown to my endeavors to be useful to them. They give quite 
as much credit as is merited to the difficulties supposed to attend 
the public administration. There are no mysteries in it. Diffi- 
culties indeed sometimes arise ; but common sense and honest in- 
tentions will generally steer through them, and, where they cannot 
be surmounted, I have ever seen the well-intentioned part of our 
fellow citizens sufficiently disposed not to look for impossibilities. 
We all know that a farm, however large, is not more difficult to 
direct than a garden, and does not call for more attention or skill. 

I hope with you that the policy of our country will settle down 
"with as much navigation and commerce only as our own ex- 
changes .will require, and that the disadvantage will be seen of 
our undertaking to carry on that of other nations. This, indeed, 
may bring gain to a few individuals, and enable them to call off 
from our farms more laborers to be converted into lackeys anr' 
grooms for them, but it will bring nothing to our country bu 
wars, debt, and dilapidation. This has been the course of Eng- 
land, and her examples have fearful influence on us. In copy 
ing her we do not seem to consider that like premises induce like 
consequences. The bank mania is one of the most threatening 
of these imitations. It is raising up a monied aristocracy in jur 
country which has already set the government at defiance, and 
although forced at length to yield a little on this first essay of 


their strength, their principles are nnyielded and unyielding. 
These have taken deep root in the hearts of that class from which 
our legislators are drawn, and the sop to Cerberus from fable has 
become history. Their principles lay hold of the good, their 
pelf of the bad, and thus those whom the constitution had placed 
as guards to its portals, are sophisticated or suborned from their 
duties. That paper money has some advantages, is admitted. 
But that its abuses also are inevitable, and, by breaking up the 
measure of value, makes a lottery of all private property, cannot 
be denied. Shall we ever be able to put a constitutional veto on it ? 
You say I must go to writing history. While in public life I 
had not time, and now thai, I am retired, I am past the time. 
To write history requires a whole life of observation, of inquiry, 
of labor and correction. Its materials are not to be found among 
the ruins of a decayed memory. At this day I should begin 
where I ought to have left off. The " solve senes centem equum" 
is a precept we learn in youth but for the practice of age ; and 
were I to disregard it, it would be but a proof the more of its 
soundness. If anything has ever merited to me the respect of 
my fellow citizens, themselves, I hope, would wish me not to 
lose it by exposing the decay of faculties of which it was the re- 
ward. I must then, dear Sir, leave to yourself and your brethren 
of the rising generation, to arraign at your tribunal the actions 
of your predecessors, and to pronounce the sentence they may 
have merited or incurred. If the sacrifices of that age have re- 
sulted in the good of this, then all is well, and we shall be re- 
warded by their approbation, and shall be authorized to say, " go 
ye and do likewise." To yourself I tender personally the assur- 
ance of my great esteem and respect. 


MoNTioEiLO, May 14, 1817. 

Although, dear Sir, much retired from the world, and med- 
dling little in its concerns, yet I think it almost a religious duty to 

vol.. VII. 


salute at times my old friends, were it only to say and to know 
that " all's well." Our hobby has been politics ; bat all here is 
so quiet, and with you so desperate, that little matter is furnished 
us for active attention. With you too, it has long been forbid- 
den ground, and therefore imprudent for a foreign friend to tread, 
in writing to you. But although our speculations might be in- 
trusive, our prayers cannot but be acceptable, and mine are sin- 
cerely offered for the well-being of France. What government 
she can bear, depends not on the state of science, however ex- 
alted, in a select band of enlightened men, but on the condition 
of the general mind. That, I am sure, is advanced and will ad- 
vance ; and the last change of government was fortunate, inas- 
much as the new will be less obstructive to the effects of that ad- 
vancement. For I consider your foreign military oppressions as 
an ephemeral obstacle only. 

Here all is quiet. The British war has left us in debt ; but 
that is a cheap price for the good it has done us. The establish- 
ment of the necessary manufactures among ourselves, the proof 
that our government is solid, can stand the shock of war, and is , 
superior even to civil schism, are precious facts for us ; and of 
these the strongest proofs were furnished, when, with four east- 
ern States tied to us, as dead to living bodies, ail doubt was re- 
moved as to the achievements of the war, had it continued. But 
its best effect has been the complete suppression of party. The 
federalists who were truly American, and their great mass was so, 
have separated from their brethren who were mere Auglomen, and 
are received with cordiality into the republican ranks. Even 
Connecticut, as a State, and the last one expected to yield its 
steady habits (which were essentially bigoted in politics as well 
as religion), has chosen a republican governor, and republicau 
legislature. Massachusetts indeed still lags; because most deeply 
involved iu the parricide crimes and treasons of the war. But 
her gangrene is contracting, the sound flesh advancing on it, and i 
all there will be well. I mentioned Connecticut as the most 
hopeless of our States. Little Delaware had escaped my atten- 
tion. That is essentially a Q,uaker State, the fragment of a re- 


ligious sect which, there, in the other States, in England, are 
a homogeneous mass, acting with one mind, and that directed by 
the mother society in England. Dispersed, as the Jews, they 
still form, as those do, one nation, foreign to the land they Ive 
in. They are Protestant .Jesuits, imphcitly devoted to the will 
of their superior, and forgetting all duties to their country in the 
execution of the policy of their order. When war is proposed 
with England, they have religious scruples ; but when with 
Prance, these are laid by, and they become clamorous for it. 
They are, however, silent, passive, and give no other trouble 
than of whipping them along. Nor is the election of Monroe an 
inefHcient circumstance in our felicities. Four and twenty years, 
which he will accomplish, of administration in republican forms 
and principles, will so consecrate them in the eyes of the people 
as to secure them against the danger of change. The evanition 
of party dissensions has harmonized intercourse, and sweetened 
society beyond imagination. The war then has done us all this 
good, and the further one of assuring the world, that although 
attached to peace from a sense of its blessings, we will meet war 
when it is made necessary. 

I wish I could give better hopes of our southern brethren. 
The achievement of their independence of Spain is no longer o 
question. But it is a very serious one, what will then become 
of them ? Ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities, are in- 
capable of self-government. They will fall under military des- 
potism, and become the murderous tools of the ambition of their 
respective Bonapartes ; and whether this will be for their greater 
happiness, the rule of one only has taught you to judge. No 
one, I hope, can doubt my wish to see them and all mankind ex- 
ercising self-government, and capable of exercising it. But the 
question is not what we wish, but what is practicalile ? As their 
sincere friend and brother then, I do believe the best thing for 
them, would be for themselves to come to an accord with Spain, 
under the guarantee of France, Russia, Holland, and the United 
States, allowing to Spain a nominal supremacy, with authority 
only to keep the peace among them, leaving them othe'rwise all 


the powers of self-goverment, until their experience in them 
their emancipation from their priests, and advancement in infor- 
mation, shall prepare them for complete independence. 1 exclude 
England from this confederacy, because her selfish principles 
render her incapable of honoralile patronage or disinterested co- 
operation ; unless, indeed, what seems now probable, a revolu- 
lion should restore to her an honest government, one which will 
permit the world to live in peace. Portugal grasping at an ex- 
tension of her dominion in the south, has lost her great northern 
province of Pernambuco, and I shall not wonder if Brazil should 
revolt in mass, and send their royal family back to Portugal. 
Brazil is more populous, more wealthy, more energetic, and as 
wise as Portugal. I have been insensibly led, my dear friend, 
while writing to you, to indulge in that line of sentiment in 
which we have been always associated, forgetting that these are 
matters not belonging to my time. Not so with you, who have 
still many years to be a spectator of these events. That these 
years may indeed be many and happy, is the sincere prayer of 
your affectionate friend. 


QuiN'Cv, May 18, ISIT. 

Dear Sir, — Lyman was mortified that he could not visit Monr 
ticello. He is gone to Europe a second time. I regret that he 
did not see you, he would have executed any commission for you 
in the literary line, at any pain or any expense. I have many 
apprehensions for his health, which is very delicate and preca- 
rious, but he is seized with the mania of all our young clerical 
spirits for foreign travel ; I fear they will lose more than they ac- 
quire, they will lose that unadulterated enthusiasm for their na- 
tive country, which has produced the greatest characters among 

Oh ! Lord ! Do you think that Protestant Popedom is annihi- 
lated in America ? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended 


to the ecclesiastical strifes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, 
and every part of New England ? What a mercy it is that these 
people cannot whip, and crop, and pillory, and roast, as yet in 
the United States ! If they could, they would. Do you know 
the General of the Jesuits, and consequently all his host, have 
their eyes on this country? Do you know that the Church of 
England is employing more means and more art, to propagate 
iheir demi-popery among us, than ever ? Quakers, Anabaptists, 
Moravians, Swedenborgians, Methodists, Unitarians, Nothinga- 
rians in all Europe are employing underhand means to propagate 
their sectarian system in these States. 

The multitude and diversity of them, you will say, is our se- 
curity against them all. God grant it. But if we consider that 
the Presbyterians and Methodists are far the most numerous and 
the most likely to unite, let a George Whitefield arise, with a 
military cast, like Mahomet or Loyola, and what will become of 
all the other sects who can never unite ? 

My friends or enemies continue to overwhelm me with books. 
Whatever may be their intention, charitable or otherwise, they 
certainly contribute to continue me to vegetate, much as I have 
done for the sixteen years last past. 

Sir John Malcolm's history of Persia, and Sir William Jones' 
works, are now poured out upon me, and a little cargo is coming 
from Europe. What can I do with all this learned lumber ? Is 
it necessary to salvation to investigate all these Cosmogonies and 
Mythologies ? Are Bryant, Gebelin, Dupuis, or Sir William Jones, 
right? What a frown upon mankind was the premature. death 
of Sir William Jones ! Why could not Jones and Dupuis have 
conversed or corresponded with each other ? Had Jones read 
Dupuis, or Dupuis Jones, the works of both would be immense- 
ly improved, though each would probably have adhered to his 

I should admire to see a counsel composed of Gebelin, Bryant, 
Jones and Dupuis. Let them live together and compare notes. 
The human race ought to contribute to furnish them with all the 
books in the Universe, and the means of subsistence. 


I am not expert enough in Italian to read Botta, and I know 
not that he has been translated. Indeed, I have been so little sat- 
isfied with histories of the American revolution, that I have long 
since ceased to read them. The truth is lost, in adulatory panegy- 
rics, and in vituperary insolence. I wish you, Mr. Madison, and 
Mr. Monroe, success in your collegiate institution. And I wish 
that superstition in religion, exciting superstition in politics, and 
both united in directing military force, alias glory, may never 
blow up all your benevolent and philanthropic lucubrations. But 
the history of all ages is against you. 

It is said that no effort in favor of virtue is ever lost. I doubt 
whether it was ever true ; whether it is now true ; but hope it 
will be true. In the moral government of the world, no doubt 
it was, is, and ever will be true ; but it has not yet appeared to 
be true on this earth. 

I am. Sir, sincerely your friend. 

P. S. Have you seen the Philosophy of Human Nature, and 
the History of the War in the western States, from Kentucky? 
How vigorously science and literature spring up, as well as pat- 
riotism and heroism, in transalleganian regions ? Have you seen 
Wilkinson's history ? «fcc., &c. 


QuiNCY, May 26, 1817. 

Dear Sir, — Mr. Leslie Combes of Kentucky has sent mo a 
history of the late war, in the western country, by Mr. Robert 
B. M-SiflVe, and the Philosophy of Human Nature, by Joseph 
Buclianan. The history I am glad to see, because it will pre- 
serve facts to the honor and immortal glory of the western people. 
Indeed, I am not sorry that the Philosophy has been published, 
because it has been a maxim with me for sixty years at least, 
never to be afraid of a book. 

Nevertheless, I cannot foresee much utility in revJev-'ing, in 


this country, the controversy between the Spiritnahsts and the Ma- 
terialists. Why should time be wasted in disputing about two 
substances, when both parties agree that neither knows anything 
about either 

If spirit is an abstraction, a conjecture, a chimera ; matter is an 
abstraction, a conjecture, a chimera ; for we know as much, or 
rather as little, about one as the other. We may read Cud^s-orth, 
Le Clerc, Leibnitz, Berkley, Hume, Bolingbroke and Priestley, and 
a million other volumes in all ages, and be obliged at last to con- 
fess that we have learned nothing. Spirit and matter still re- 
main riddles. Define the terms, however, and the controversy 
is soon settled. If spirit is an active something, and matter an 
inactive something, it is certain that one is not the other. We 
can no more conceive that extension, or solidity, can think, or 
feel, or see, or hear, or taste, or smell ; than we can conceive 
that perception, memory, imagination, or reason, can remove a 
mountain, or blow a rock. This enigma has puzzled mankind 
from the beginning, and probably will to the end. Economy of 
time requires that we should waste no more in so idle an amuse- 

In the eleventh discourse of Sir William Jones, before the 
Asiatic Society, vol. iii., page 229, of his works, we find that 
Materialists and Immaterialists existed in India, and that they 
accused each other of atheism, before Berkley, or Priestley, or 
Dupuis, or Plato, or Pythagoras, were born. 

Indeed, Newton himself appears to have discovered nothing 
that was not known to the ancient Indians. He has only fur- 
nished more complete demonstrations of the doctrines they taught. 
Sir John Malcolm agrees with Jones and Dupuis, in the Astro- 
logical origin of heathen mythologies. Vain man ! mind your 
own business ! Do no wrong ; — do all the good you can ! Eat 
your canvas-back ducks! Drink your Burgundy ! Sleep your 
siesta when necessary, and trust in god ! 

What a mighty bubble, what a tremendous waterspout, has 
Napoleon been, accordnig to his life, written by himself ! He 
says he was the creature of the principlos and manners of the 


age ; by which, no doubt, he means the age of Reason ; the pro- 
gress of Manilius' Ratio, of Plato's Logos, &c. I believe him. 
A whirlwind raised him, and a whirlwind blowed him away to 
St. Helena. He is very confident that the age of Reason is not 
past, and so am I ; but I hope that Reason will never again 
rashly and hastily create such creatures as him. Liberty, equal- 
ity, fraternity, and humanity, will never again, I hope, blindly 
surrender themselves to an unbounded ambition for national con- 
quests, nor implicitly commit themselves to the custody and 
guardianship of arms and heroes. If they do, they will again 
end in St. Helena, Inquisitions, Jesuits, and sacre liqiies. 

Poor Laureate Southey is writhing in torments under the laugh 
of the three kingdoms, all Europe, and America, upon the publi- 
cation of his " Wat Tyler." I wonder whether he or Bonaparte 
suffera most. I congratulate you, and Madison, and Monroe, on 
your noble employment in founding a university. From such a 
nobln Triumvirate, the world will expect something very great 
and very new ; but if it contains anything quite original, and 
very excellent, I fear the prejudices are too deeply rooted to suf- 
fer it to last long, though it may be accepted at first. It will not 
always have three such colossal reputations to support it. 

The Pernambuco Ambassador, his Secretary of legation, and 
private Secretary, respectable people, have made me .a visit. 
Having been some year or two in a similar situation, I could not 
but sympathize with him. As Bonaparte says, the age of Reason 
is not ended. Nothing can totally extinguish, or echpse the light 
which has been shed abroad by the press. 

I am. Sir, with hearty wishes for your health and happiness, 
your friend and humble servant. 


.Mo.M'KKI.Ul, JlUK' 12, 1817. 

Sir, — Your favor of May 20th has been received some time 
Rince, but the increasing inertness of age renders me slow m 


obeying the calls of the writing-table, and less equal than I have 
been to its labors. 

My opinion on the right of Expatriation has been, so long ago 
as the year 1776, consigned to record in the act of the Virginia 
code, drawn by myself, recognizing the right expressly, and pre- 
scribing the mode of exercising it. The evidence of this natural 
right, like that of our right to life, liberty, the use of our facul- 
ties, the pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble and sophis- 
tical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of 
every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings 
or legislators, but under the King of kings. If he has made it 
a law in the natuie of man to pursue his own happiness, he has 
left him free in the choice of place as well as mode ; and we 
may safely call on the whole body of English jurists to produce 
the map on which Nature has traced, for each individual, the 
geographical line which she forbids him to cross in pursuit of 
happiness. It certainly does not exist in his mind. Where, 
then, is it? I believe, too, I might safely affirm, that there is 
not another nation, civilized or savage, which has ever denied 
this natural right. I doubt if there is another which refuses its 
exercise. I know it is allowed in some of the most respectable 
countries of continental Europe, nor have I ever heard of one in 
which it was not. How it is among our savage neighbor*, who 
have no law but that of Nature, we all know. 

Though long estranged from legal reading and reasoning, and 
little familiar with the decisions of particular judges, I have con- 
sidered that respecting the obligation of the common law in this 
country as a very plain one, and merely a question of document. 
If we are under that law, the document which made us so can 
surely be produced ; and as far as this can be produced, so far we 
^re subject to it, and farther we are not. Most of the States did, 
1 believe, at an early period of their legislation, adopt the English 
l-aw, common and statute, more or less in a body, as far as locali- 
ties admitted of their application. In these States, then, the 
common law, so far as adopted, is the lex-loci. Then comes the 
law of Congress, declaring that what is law in any State, shall 


be the rule of decision in their courts, as to matters arising within 
that State, except when controlled by their own statutes. But 
this law of Congress has been considered as extending to civil 
eases only ; and that no such provision has been made for crim- 
inal ones. A similar provision, then, for criminal offences, would, 
in like manner, be an adoption of more or less of the common 
law, as part of the lex-loci, where the offence is committed ; and 
would cover the whole field of legislation for the general gov- 
ernment. I have turned to the passage you refer to in Judge 
Cooper's Justinian, and should suppose the general expressions 
there used would admit of modifications conformable to this doc- 
trine. It would alarm me indeed, in any case, to find myself 
entertaining an opinion different from that of a judgment so ac- 
curately organized as his. But I am quite persuaded that, when- 
ever Judge Cooper shall be led to consider that question simply 
and nakedly, it is so much within his course of thinking, as 
liberal as logical, that, rejecting all blind and undefined obliga- 
tion, he will hold to the positive and explicit precepts of the law 
alone. Accept these hasty sentiments on the subjects you pro- 
pose, as hazarded in proof of my great esteem and respect. 


MoNTioELLo, June IS, 1817. 

Dear Sir, — The receipt of your Distributio Geographica 
Plaatarum, with the duty of thanking you for a work which 
sheds so much new and valuable light on botanical science, ex- 
cites the desire, also, of presenting myself to your recollection, 
and of expressing to you those sentiments of high admiration 
and esteem, which, although long silent, have never slept. The- 
physical information you have given us of a country hitherto so 
shamefully unknown, has come exactly in time to guide our un- 
derstandings in the great political revolution now bringing it into 
prominence on the stage of the world. The issue of its strug- 
gles, as they respect Spain, is no longer matter of doubt. Ab it 


respects their own liberty, peace and happiness, we cannot be 
quite so certain. Whether the blinds of bigotry, the shackles 
of the priesthood, and the fascinating glare of rank and wealth, 
give fair play to the common sense of the mass of their people, so 
far ds to qualify them for self-government, is what we do not 
know. Perhaps our wishes may be stronger than our hopes. 
The first principle of republicanism is, that the lex-majoris partis 
is the fLUidamental law of every society of individuals of equal 
rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the ma- 
jority of a single vote, as sacred as if unanimous, is the first of 
all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. 
This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, 
which ends necessarily in military despotism. This has been 
the history of the French revolution, and I wish the understand- 
ing of our Southern brethren may be sufficiently enlarged and 
firm to see that their fate depends on its sacred observance. 

In our America we are turning to public improvements. 
Schools, roads, and canals, are everywhere -either in operation or 
contemplation. The most gigantic undertaking yet proposed, is 
that of New York, for drawing the waters of Lake Erie into the 
Hudson. The distance is 353 miles, and the height to be sur- 
mounted 661 feet. The expense will be great, bat its effect in- 
calculably powerful in favor of the Atlantic States. Internal 
navigation by steamboats is rapidly spreading through all our 
States, and that by sails and oars will ere long be looked back to 
as among the curiosities of antiquity. We count much, too, on 
its efiicacy for harbor defence ; and it will soon be tried for nav- 
igation by sea. We consider the employment of the contribu- 
tions which our citizens can spare, after feeding, and clothing, 
and lodging themselves comfortably, as more useful, more moral, 
and even more splendid, than that preferred by Europe, of de- 
stroying human life, labor and happiness. 

I write this letter without knowing where it will find you. 
But wherever that may be, I am sure it will find you engaged in 
something instructive for man. If at Paris, you are of course in 
habits of society with Mi'. Gallatin, our worthy, oui- able, and ex- 


cellent minister, who will give you, from time to time, the de- 
tails of the progress of a country in whose prosperity you are so 
good as to feel an interest, and in which your name is revered 
among those of the great worthies of the world. God bless you, 
and preserve you long to enjoy the gratitude of your fellow men, 
and to be blessed with honors, health and happiness. 


MoNTicKLLO, June 14, 1817. 

I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy of the interesting narrative 
of the Complet d'Arnold, which you have been so kind as to 
send me. It throws light on that incident of history which we 
did not possess before. An incident which merits to be known, 
as a lesson to mankind, in all its details. This mark of your 
attention recalls to my mind the earlier period of life a-t which I 
had the pleasure of your personal acquaintance, and renews the 
sentiments of high respect and esteem with which that acquaint- 
ance inspired me. I had not failed to accompany your personal 
sufferings during the civil convulsions of your country, and had 
sincerely sympathized with them. An awful period, indeed, has 
passed in Europe since our first acquaintance. When I left 
France at the close of '89, your revolution was, as I thought, 
under the direction of able and honest men. But the madness 
of some of their successors, the vices of others, the malicious in- 
trigues of an envious and corrupting neighbor, the tracasserie of 
the Directory, the usurpations, the havoc, and devastations of 
your Attila, and the equal usurpations, depredations and oppress- 
ions cf your hypocritical deliverers, will form a mournful period 
in the history of man, a period of which the last chapter will 
not be seen in your day or mine, and one which I still fear is 
to be written in characters of blood. Had Bonaparte reflected 
that such is the moral construction of the world, that no national 
crime passes unpunished in the long run, he would not now be 
in the cage of St. Helena ; and were your present oppressors to 


reflect on the same truth, they would spare to their own countries 
the penaUies on their present wrongs which will be inflicted on 
Ihem on future times. The seeds of hatred and revenge which 
they are now sowing with a large hand, will not fail to produce 
their fruits in time. Like their brother robbers on the highway, 
they suppose the escape of the moment a final escape, and deem 
infamy and future risk countervailed by present gain. Oar lot 
has been happier. When you witnessed our first struggles in 
the war of independence, you little calculated, more than we 
did, on the rapid growth and prosperity of this country ; on the 
practical demonstration it was about to exhibit, of the happy 
truth that man is capable of self-government, and only rendered 
otherwise by the moral degradation designedly superinduced on 
him by the wicked acts of his tyrants. 

I have much confidence that we shall proceed successfully for 
ages to come, and that, contrary to the principle of Montesquieu, 
it will be seen that the larger the extent of country, the more firm 
its republican structure, if founded, not on conquest, but in princi- 
ples of compact and equality. My hope of its duration is built 
much on the enlargement of the resources of life going hand in 
hand with the enlargement of territory, and the belief that men are 
disposed to live honestly, if the means of doing so are open to them. 
With the consolation of this belief in the future result of our labors. 
I have that of other prophets who foretell distant events, that I 
shall not live to see it falsified. My theory nas always been. 
that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and 
pleasanter than the gloom of despair. I wish to yourself a long 
life of honors, health and happiness. 


MoNTioELLO, June 10, 1817. 

Dear Sir, — The importance that the enclosed letters .should 
safely reach their destination, impels me to avail myself of the 
protection of your cover. This is an inconvenience to which 


your situation exposes you, while it adds to the opportunities of 
exercising yourself in works of charity. 

According to the opinion I hazarded to you a little before yout 
departure, we have had almost an entire change in the body of 
Congress. The unpopularity of the compensation law was com- 
pleted, by the manner of repealing it as to all the world except 
themselves. In some States, it is said, every member is changed ; 
in all, many. What opposition there was to the original law. 
was chiefly from southern members. Yet many of those have 
been left out, because they received the advanced wages. I 
have never known so unanimous a sentiment of disapprobation ; 
and what is remarkable is, that it was spontaneous. The news- 
papers were almost entirely silent, and the people not only unled 
by their leaders, but in opposition to them. I confess I was 
highly pleased with this proof of the innate good sense, the vigi- 
lance, and the determination of the people to act for them- 

Among the laws of the late Congress, some were of note ; a 
navigation act, particularly, applicable to those nations only who 
have navigation acts ; pinching one of them especially, not only 
in the general way, but in the intercourse with her foreign pos- 
sessions. This part may re-act on us, and it remains for trial 
which may bear longest. A law respecting our conduct as a 
neutral between Spain and her contending colonies, was passed 
by a majority of one only, I believe, and against the very general 
sentiment of our country. It is thought to strain our complais- 
ance to Spain beyond her right or merit, and almost against the 
right of the other party, and certainly against the claims they 
have to our good wishes and neighborly relations. That we 
should wish to see the people of other countries free, is as nat'iral, 
and at least as justifiable, as that one King should wish to see the 
Kings of other countries maintained in their despotism. Right 
to both parties, innocent favor to the juster cause, is our proper 

You will have learned that an act for internal improvement, 
after passing both Houses, was negatived by the President. The 


act was founded, avowedly, on the principle that the phrase in 
the constitution which authorizes Congress " to lay taxes, to pay 
the debts and provide for the general welfare," was an extension 
of the powers specifically enumerated to whatever would promote 
the general welfare ; and this, you know, was the federal doc- 
trine. Whereas, our tenet ever was, and, indeed, it is almost the 
only landmark which now divides the federalists from the re- 
publicans, that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for 
the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enu- 
merated ; and that, as it was never meant they should provide 
for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, 
so it could not have been meant they should raise money for pur- 
poses which the enumeration did not place under their action ; 
consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of 
the purposes for which they may raise money. I think the pas- 
sage and rejection of this bill a fortunate incident. Every State 
will certainly concede the power ; and this will be a national 
confirmation of the grounds of appeal to them, and will settle 
forever the meaning of this phrase, which, by a mere grammati- 
cal quibble, has countenanced the General Government in a 
claim of universal power. For in the phrase, " to lay taxes, to 
pay the debts and provide for the general welfare," it is a mere 
question of syntax, whether the two last infinitives are governed 
by the first or are distinct and co-ordinate powers ; a question 
unequivocally decided by the exact definition of powers imme- 
diately following. It is fortunate for another reason, as the 
States, in conceding the power, will modify it, either by requir- 
ing the federal ratio of expense in each State, or otherwise, so 
as to secure us against its partial exercise. Without this caution, 
intrigue, negotiation, and the barter of votes might become as 
habitual in Congress, as they are in those legislatures which have 
the appointment of officers, and which, with us, is called " log- 
ging," the term of the farmers for their .exchanges of aid in roll- 
ing together the logs of their newly-cleared grounds. Three of 
our papers have presented us the copy of an act of the legislature 
of New York, which, if it has really passed, will carry us back 


to the times of the darkest bigotry and barbarism, to find a paral 
lei. Its purport is, that all those who shall hereafter join in 
communion \yith the religious sect of Shaking Q,uakers, shall be 
deemed civilly dead, their marriages dissolved, and all their chil- 
dren and property taken out of their hands. This act being pub- 
lished nakedly in the papers, without the usual signatures, or any 
history of the circumstances of its passage, I am not without a 
hope it may have been a mere abortive attempt. It contrasts 
singularly with a cotemporary vote of the Pennsylvania legisla- 
ture, who, on a proposition to make the belief in God a neces- 
sary qualification for oflice, rejected it by a great majority, al- 
though assuredly there was not a single atheist in their body. 
And you remember to have heard, that when the act for religious 
freedom was before the Virginia Assembly, a motion to insert the 
name of Jesus Christ before the phrase, " the author of our holy 
religion," which stood in the bill, was rejected, although that 
was the creed of a great majority of them. 

I have been charmed to see that a Presidential election now 
produces scarcely any agitation. On Mr. Madison's election there 
was little, on Monroe's all but none. In Mr. Adams' time and 
mine, parties were so nearly balanced as to make the struggle 
fearful for our peace. But since the decided ascendency of the 
republican body, federalism has looked on with silent but unre- 
sisting anguish. In the middle, southern and western States, it 
is as low as it ever can be ; for nature has made some men mon- 
archists and tories by their constitution, and some, of course, 

there always will be. 

#* *# **# ### 

We have had a remarkably cold winter. At Hallowell, in 
Maine, the mercury was at thirty-four degrees below zero, of 
Fahrenheit, which is sixteen degrees lower than it was in Paris in 
1788-9. Here it was at six degrees above zero, which is our 
greatest degree of cold. , 

Present me respectfully to Mrs. Gallatin, and be assured of my 
constant and aifectionate friendship. 



Poplar Forest, September 8, 1817. 

Dear Sir, — A month's absence from Monticello has added to 
the delay of acknowledging your last letters, and indeed for a 
month before I left it, our projected college gave me constant 
employment ; for, being the only visitor in its immediate neigh- 
borhood, all its administrative business falls on me, and that, 
where building is going on, is not a little. In yours of July 
15th, i^ou express a wish to see our plan, but the present visitors 
have sanctioned no plan as yet. Our predecessors, the first trus- 
tees, had desired me to propose one to them, and it was on that 
occasion I asked and received the benefit of your ideas on the 
subject. Digesting these with such other schemes as I had been 
able to collect, I made out a prospectus, the looser and less satis- 
factory from the uncertain amount of the funds to which it was 
to be adapted. This I addressed, in the form of a letter, to their 
President, Peter Carr, which, going before the legislature when 
a change in the constitution of the college was asked, got into 
the public papers, and, among others, I think you will find it in 
Niles' Register, in the early part of 1815. This, however, is to 
be considered but as a premiere ebauche, for the consideration 
and amendment of the present visitors, and to be accommodated 
to one of two conditions of things. If the institution is to de- 
pend on private donations alone, we shall be forced to accumu- 
late on the shoulders of four professors a mass of sciences which, 
if the legislature adopts it, should be distributed among ten. We 
shall be ready for a professor of languages in April next, for two 
others the following year, and a fourth a year after. How happy 
should we be if wc could have a Ticknor for our first. A crit- 
ical classic is scarcely to be found in the United States. To this 
professor, a fixed salary of five hundred dollars, with liberal tui- 
tion fees from the pupils, will probably give two thousand dollars 
a year. We are now on the look-out for a professor, meaning to 
accept of none but of the very first order. 

You ask if I have seen Buchanan's, McAfee's, or Wilkinson's 

VOL. VII. 6 


books ? I have seen none of them, but have lately read, with 
great pleasure, Reid & Eaton's life of Jackson, if life may be 
called what is merely a history of his campaign of 1814. Reid's 
part is well written. Eaton's continuation is better for its matter 
than style. The whole, however, is valuable. 

I have lately received a pamphlet of extreme interest from 
France. It is De Pradt's Historical Recital of the first return of 
Louis XVIII. to Paris. It is precious for the minutias of the pro- 
ceedings which it details, and for their authenticity, as from an 
eye-witness. Being but a pamphlet I enclose it for your perusal, 
assured, if you have not seen it, that it will give you pleasure. 
I will ask its return, because I value it as a morsel of genuine 
history, a thing so rare as to be always valuable. I have received 
some information from an eye-witness also of what passed on the 
occasion of the second return of Louis XYIII. The Emperor 
Alexander, it seems, was solidly opposed to this. In the consul- 
tation of the allied sovereigns and their representatives with the 
executive council at Paris, he insisted that the Bourbons were 
too incapable and unworthy of being placed at the head of the 
nation ; declared he would support any other choice they should 
freely make, and continued to urge most strenuously that some 
other choice should be made. The debates ran high and warm, 
and broke oif after midnight, every one retaining his own opin- 
ion. He lodged, as you know, at Talleyrand's. When thej'' re- 
turned into council the next day, his host had overcome his firm- 
ness. Louis XVIII. was accepted, and through the management 
of Talleyrand, accepted without any capitulation, although the 
sovereigns would have consented that he should be first required 
to subscribe and swear to the constitution prepared, before per- 
mission to enter the kingdom. It would seem as if Talleyrand 
had been afraid to admit the smallest interval of time, lest a 
change of mind would bring back Bonaparte on them. But I 
observe that the friends of a limited monarchy there consider the 
popular representation as much improved by the late alteration, 
and confident it will in the end produce a fixed government in 


which an elective body, fairly representative of the people, will 
be an efficient element. 

I congratulate Mrs. Adams and yourself on the return of your 
excellent and distinguished son, and our country still more on 
such a minister of their foreign affairs ; and I renew to both the 
assurance of my high and friendly respect and esteem. 


Poi'LAR FoRRST, September 12, 1817. 

Dear' Sir, — Your favor of August 12th was yesterday re- 
ceived at this place, and I learn from it with pleasure that you 
have found a tract of country which will suit you for settlement. 
To us your first purchase would have been more gratifying, by 
adding yourself and your friends to our society ; but the over- 
ruling consideration, with us as with you, is your own advantage, 
and as it would doubtless be a great comfort to you to have your 
ancient neighbors and friends settled around you. I sincerely wish 
that your proposition to "purchase a tract of land in the Illinois 
on favorable terms, for introducing a colony of English farm- 
ers," may encounter no difficulties from the established rules of 
our land department. The general law prescribes an open sale, 
where all citizens may compete on an equal footing for any lot 
of land which attracts their choice. To dispense with this in 
any particular case, requires a special law of Congress, and to 
special legislation we are generally averse, lest a principle of fa- 
vpritism should creep in and pervert that of equal rights. It 
has, however, been done on some occasions where a special na- 
tional advantage has been expected to overweigh that of adher- 
ence to the general rule. The promised introduction of the cul- 
ture of the vine procured a special law in favor of the Swiss set- 
tlement on the Ohio. That of the culture of oil, wine and other 
southern productions, did the same lately for the French settle- 
ment on the Tombigbee. It remains to be tried whether that 
of an improved system of farming, interesting to so great a pro- 


portion of our citizens, may not also be thought worth a dispen- 
sation with the general rule. This I suppose is the principal 
iground on which your proposition will be questioned. For al- 
though as to other foreigners it is thought better to discourage 
their settling together in large masses, wherein, as in our German 
settlements, they preserve for a long time their own languages, 
habits, and principles of government, and that they should dis- 
tribute themselves sparsely among the natives for quicker amalga- 
mation. Yet English emigrants are without this inconvenience. 
They differ from us little . but in their principles of government, 
and most of those (merchants excepted) who come here, are suffi- 
ciently disposed to adopt ours. What the issue, however, of 
your proposition may probably be, I am less able to advise you 
than many others ; for during the last eight or ten years I have 
no knowledge of the administration of the land office or the prin- 
ciples of its government. Even the persons on whom it will de- 
pend are all changed within that interval, so as to leave me small 
means of being useful to you. Whatever they may be, how- 
ever, they shall be freely exercised for your advantage, and that, 
not on the selfish principle of increasing our own population at 
the expense of other nations, for the additions to that from emi- 
gration are but as a drop in a bucket to those by natural procrea- 
tion, but to consecrate a sanctuary for those whom the misrule 
of Europe may compel to seek happiness in other climes. This 
refuge once known will produce reaction on the happiness even 
of those who remain there, by warning their task-masters that 
when the evils of Egyptian oppression become heavier than those 
of the abandonment of country, another Canaan is open where 
their subjects will be received as brothers, and secured against 
like oppressions by a participation in the right of self-govern* 
ment. If additional motives could be wanting with us to the 
maintenance of this right, they would be found in the animating 
consideration that a single good government becomes thus a 
blessing to the whole earth, its welcome to the oppressed restrain- 
iaig within certain limits the measure of their oppressions. But 
should even this be counteracted by violence on the right of ex- 


patriation, the other branch of our example then presents itself 
for imitation, to rise on their rulers and do as we have done. 
You have set to your own country a good example, by showing 
them a peaceable mode of reducing their rulers to the necessity 
of becoming more wise, more moderate, and more honest, and I 
sincerely pray that the example may work for the benefit of those 
who cannot follow it, as it will for your own. 

With Mr. Burckbeck, the associate of your late explanatory 
journeying, I have not the happiness of personal acquaintance ; 
but I know him through his narrative of your journeyings to- 
gether through France. The impressions received from that, 
give me confidence that a participation with yourself in assur- 
ances of the esteem and respect of a stranger will not be unac- 
ceptable to him, and the less when given through you and asso- 
ciated with those to yourself. 


QuiNcv, October in, 1817. 

Dear Sir, — I thank you for your kind congratulations on the 
return of my little family from Europe. To receive them all in 
fine health and good spirits, after so long an absence, was a great- 
er blessing than at my time of Hfe when they went away, I had 
any right to hope, or reason to expect. 

If the Secretary of State can give satisfaction to his fellow- 
citizens in his new office, it will be a source of consolation to me 
while I live ; although it is not probable that I shall long be a 
witness of his good success, or ill success. I shall soon be obliged 
to say to him, and to you, and to your country and mine, God 
bless you all ! Fare-thee-well ! Indeed, I need not wait a mo- 
ment. I can say all that now, with as good a will, and as clear 
a conscience, as at any time past, or future. 

I thank you, also, for the loan of De Pradt's narration of the 
intrigues, at the second restoration of the Bourbons. In this, as 
in many other instances, is seen the influence of a single subtle 


mind, and a trifling accident, in deciding the fate of mankind for 
iges. De Pradt and Talleyrand were well associated. 

I have ventured to send the pamphlet to Washington with a 
charge to return it to you. The French have a King, a cham- 
ber of Peers, and a chamber of Deputies. Voila ! les ossimens 
of a constitution of a limited monarchy ; and of a good one, pro- 
vided the bones are united by good joints, and knitted together 
by strong tendons. But where does the sovereignty reside ? 
Are the three branches sufficiently defined ? A fair representa- 
tion of the body of the people by elections, sufficiently frequent, 
is essential to a free government ; but if the Commons cannot 
make themselves respected by the Peers, and the King, they can 
do no good, nor prevent any evil. 

Can any organization of government secure public and private 
liberty without a general or universal freedom, without license, 
or licentiousness of thinking, speaking, and writing. Have the 
French such freedom ? Will their religion, or policy, allow it ? 

When I think of liberty, and a free government, in an ancient, 
opulent, populous, and commercial empire, I fear I shall always 
recollect a fable of Plato. 

Love is a son of the god of riches, and the goddess of poverty. 
He inherits from his father the intrepidity of his courage, the 
enthusiasm of his thoughts, his generosity, his prodigality, his 
confidence in himself, the opinion of his own merit, the impa- 
tience to have always the preference ; but he derives from his 
mother that indigence which makes him always a beggar ; that 
importunity with which he demands everything; that timidity 
which sometimes hinders him from daring to ask anything ; that 
disposition which he has to servitude, and that dread of being 
despised, which he can never overcome. 

Such is Love according to Plato. Who calls him a demon? 
And such is liberty in France, and England, and all other great, 
rich, old, corrunted commercial nations. The opposite qualities 
of the father and mother are perpetually tearing to pieces himself 
and his friends as well as his enemies. 

Mr. Monroe has got the universal character among all our com- 


mon people of " A very smart man." And veiily I am of the 
same mind. I know not another who could have executed so 
great a plan so cleverly. 

I wish him the same happy success through his whole admin- 

I am, Sir, with respest and friendship, yours, J. A. 


MoNTjcELLo, November 1, 181*7, 

Deak Sir, — Yours of the 4th of October was not received here 
until the 20th, having been sixteen days on its passage ; since 
which unavoidable avocations have made this the first moment it 
has been in my power to acknowledge its receipt. Of the char- 
acter of M. de Pradt his political writings famish a tolerable es- 
timate, but not so full as you have favored me with. He is elo- 
quent, and his pamphlet on colonies shows him ingenious. I 
was gratified by his Recit Historique, because, pretending, as all 
men do, to some character, and he to one of some distinction, I 
supposed he would not place before the world facts of glaring 
falsehood, on which so many living and distinguished witnesses 
could convict him. We, too, who are retired from the business 
of the world, are glad to catch a glimpse of truth, here and there 
as we can, to guide our path through the boundless field of fable 
in which we are bewildered by public prints, and even by those 
calling themselves histories. A word of truth to us is like the 
drop of water supplicated from the tip of Lazarus' finger. It is 
as an observation of latitude and longitude to the mariner long 
enveloped in clouds, for correcting the ship's way. 

On the subject of weights and measures, yon will have, at its 
threshold, to encounter the question on which Solon and Ly- 
curgus acted difi'erently. Shall we mould our citizens to the 
law, or the law to our citizens? And in solving this question 
their peculiar character is an element not to be neglected. Of 
the two only things in nature which can furnish an invariable 


Standard, to wit, the dimensions of the globe itself, and the time 
of its diurnal revolution on its axis, it is not perhaps of much 
importance which we adopt. That of the dimensions of the 
globe, prefeiTed ultimately by the French, after first adopting the 
other, has been objected to from the difficulty, not to say imprac- 
ticability, of the verification of their admeasurement by other na- 
tions. Except the portion of a meridian which they adopted for 
their operation, there is not another on the globe which fulfils the 
requisite conditions, to wit, of so considerable length, that length 
too divided, not very unequally, by the 4.5th degree of latitude, 
and terminating at each end in the ocean. Now, this singular 
line lies wholly in France and Spain. Besides the immensity 
of expense and time which a verification would always require, 
it cannot be undertaken by any nation without the joint consent 
of these two powers. France having once performed the work 
and refusing, as she may, to let any other nation re-examine it, 
she makes herself the sole depository of the original standard foi 
all nations ; and all must send to her to obtain, and from time tc 
time to prove their standards. To this, indeed, it may be an- 
swered, that there can be no reason to doubt that the mensuration 
has been as accurately performed as the intervention of numerous 
waters, and of high ridges of craggy mountains, would admit ; 
that all the calculations have been free of error, their coincidences 
faithfully reported, and that, whether in peace or war, to foes as 
well as friends, free access to the original will at all times be ad- 
mitted. In favor of the standard to be taken from the time em-' 
ployed in a revolution of the earth on its axis, it may be urged 
that this revolution is a matter of fact present to all the world, 
that its division into seconds of time is known and received by 
all the world, that the length of a pendulum vibrating seconds 
ill the different circles of latitude is already known to all, and 
cau at any time nid in any place be ascertained by any nation 
or individual, and mferred by known laws from their own to the 
medium latitude of 45°, whenever any doubt may make this de- 
sirable ; and that this is the particular standard which has at dif- 


ferent times been contemplated and desn-ed* by the philosophers 
of every nation, and even by those of France, except at the par- 
ticular moment when this change was suddenly proposed and 
adopted, and under circumstances peculiar to the history of the 
moment. But the cogent reason which will decide the fate of 
whatever you report is, that England has lately adopted the ref- 
erence of its measures to the pendulum. It is the mercantile 
part of our community which will have most to do in this inno- 
vation ; it is that which having command of all the presses can 
make the loudest outcry, and you know their identification with 
English regulations, practices, and prejudices. It is from this 
identification alone you can hope to be permitted to adopt even 
the English reference to a pendulum. But the English propo- 
sition goes only to say what proportion their measures bear to 
the second pendulum of their own latitude, and not at all to 
change their unit, or to reduce into any simple order the chaos 
of their weights and measures. That would be innovation, and 
innovation there is heresy and treason. Whether the Senate 
meant more than this I do not know ; and much doubt if more 
can he effected. However, in endeavors to improve our situa- 
tion, we should never despair ; and I sincerely wish you may be 
able to rally us to either standard, and to give us an unit, the 
aliquot part of something invariable which may be applied simply 
and conveniently to our measures, weights, and coins, and most 
especially that the decimal divisions may pervade the whole. 
The convenience of this in our monied system has been approved 
by all, and France has followed the example. The volume of 
tracts which you have noted in the library of Congress, contains 
everything which I had then been able to collect on this subject. 
You will find some details which may be of use in two thin 
4to vols., Nos. 399, 400, of chapter xxiv. ; the latter being a col- 
lection of sheets selected from the '' Encyclopedic Meihodique," 

* If conforming to this desire of other nations, we adopt the second pendulum, 
^\ of that for our foot will be the same as ! or j% of the second rod, because that 
rod is to the pendulum as 3 to 2. This would make our foot i inch less than the 
oreaent one. 


on Lhe weights, measures and coins of all nations, bound up to- 
gether and alone ; and the former a supplement by Beyerle. 
Cooper's Emporium too, for May 1812, and August 1813, may 
offer something. The reports of the Committees of Parliament 
of 1758-9, I think you will find in Postlethwaite's Dictionary, 
which is also in the library, chapter 20, No. 10. That of Mechain 
and Delambre I have not, nor do I know who has it. 

I have lately seen a book which your office ought to possess, 
if it has it not already, entitled " Memoir e sur la Louisiana, 
par M. le Comte de Vergennes, 8vo, Paris, chez Lepetit, Jeune, 
1802." It contains more in detail the proofs of the extent of 
Louisiana as far as the Rio Grande than I have ever before seen, 
and its author gives it authenticity. It has been executed with 
great industry and research into the French records. This re- 
minds me of a MS. which Governor Claiborne found in a private 
family in Louisiana, being a journal kept (I forget by whom, 
but) by a confidential oflicer of the government, proving exactly 
by what connivance between the agents of the compagnie (F ac- 
cident and the Spaniards these last smuggled settlements into 
Louisiana as far as Assinais, Adais, &c.. for the purpose of cov- 
ering the contraband trade of the company. Claiborne being 
afraid to trust the original by mail without keeping a copy, sent 
it on. It arrived safe, and was deposited in the office of State. 
He then sent me the copy on the destruction of the office at 
Washington by the British, apprehending the original might be 
involved in that destruction. I sent the copy to Colonel Monroe, 
then Secretary of State, with a request to return it if the original 
was safe, and to keep it if not. I have heard no more of it ; but 
will now request of you to have search made for the original, and 
if safe, to return me the copy. I propose to deposit it with the 
historical committee of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, 
for safe keeping. I have no use nor wish for such a thing my- 
sef, but think it will be safer in two deposits than one. My rec- 
ommendation to Colonel Monroe, was to have it printed. I 
have barely left myself room to express my satisfaction at your 
call to the important office you hold, and to tender you the as- 
iirance of my great esteem and respect. 



Mo^TIOKLL(l, November 7, 1817. 

Dear Sib, — A part of the information of which the expe- 
dition of Lewis and Clarke was the object, has been communi- 
cated to the world by the publication of their journal ; but much 
and valuable matter yet remains uncommunicated. The cor- 
rection of the longitudes of their map is essential to its value ; 
to which purpose their observations of the lunar distances are 
to be calculated and applied. The new subjects they discov- 
ered in the vegetable, animal, and mineral departments, are to 
be digested and made known. The numerous vocabularies they 
obtained of the Indian languages are to be collated and published. 
Although the whole expense of the expedition was furnished by 
the public, and the information to be derived from it was theirs 
also, yet on the return of Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, the govern- 
ment thought it just to leave to them any pecuniary benefit 
which might result from a publication of the papers, and sup- 
posed, indeed, that this would secure the best form of publica- 
tion. But the property in these papers still remained in the gov- 
ernment for the benefit of their constituents. With the measures 
taken by Governor Lewis for their publication, I was never ac- 
quainted. After his death. Governor Clarke put them, in the first 
instance, into the hands of the late Doctor Barton, from whom some 
of them passed to Mr. Biddle, and some again, I believe, from him 
to Mr. Allen. While the MS. books of journals were in the hands 
of Dr. Barton, I wrote to him, on behalf of Governor Lewis' 
family, requesting earnestly, that, as soon as these should be pub- 
lished, the originals might be returned, as the family wished to have 
them preserved. He promised in his answer that it should be 
faithfully done. After his death, I obtained, through the kind 
agency of Mr. Correa, from Mrs. Barton, three of those books, of 
which I knew there had been ten or twelve, having myself read 
them. These were all she cotdd find. The rest, therefore, I 
presume, are in the hands of the other gentlemen. After the 
agency I had had in effecting this expedition, I thought myself 


authorized, and, indeed, that it would he expected of me, that I 
should follow up the subject, and endeavor to obtain its fruits foi 
the public. I wrote to General Clarke, therefore, for authority 
to receive the original papers. He gave it in the letters to Mr. 
Biddle and to myself, which I now enclose. As the custody of 
these papers belonged properly to the War-Office, and that was 
vacant at the time, I have waited several months for its being 
filled. But the office still remaining vacant, and my distance 
rendering any effectual measures, by myself, impracticable, I ask 
the agency of your committee, within whose province I propose 
to place the matter, by making it the depository of the paj)ers gen- 
erally. I therefore now forward the three volumes of MS. jour- 
nals in my possession, and authorize them, under General 
Clarke's letters, to inquire for and to receive the rest. So also 
the astronomical and geographical papers, those relating to zoo- 
logical, botanical, and mineral subjects, with the Indian vocabu- 
laries, and statistical tables relative to the Indians. Of the as- 
tronomical and geographical papers, if the committee will be so 
good as to give me a statement, I will, as soon as a Secretary at 
War is appointed, propose to him to have made, at the public 
expense, the requisite calculations, to have the map corrected in 
its longitudes and latitudes, engraved and published on a proper 
scale ; and I will ask from General Clarke the one he offers, with 
his corrections. With respect to the zoological and mineralogical 
papers and subjects, it would perhaps be agreeable to the Philo- 
sophical Society, to have a digest of them made, and published 
in their transactions or otherwise. And if it should be within 
the views of the historical committee to have the Indian vocab- 
ularies digested and published, I would add to them the remains 
of my collection. I had through the course of my life availed 
myself of every opportunity of procuring vocabularies of the 
languages of every tribe which either myself or my friends 
could have access to. They amounted to about forty, more or 
less perfect. But in th'^ir passage from Washington to this pkce, 
the trunk in which they were was stolen and plundered, and 
some fragments only of the vocabularies were recovered. Still,. 


however, they were such as would be worth incorporation with 
a larger work, and shall be at the service of the historical com- 
mittee, if they can make any use of them. Permit me to request 
the return of General Clarke's letter, and to add assurances of 
my respect and esteem. 

P S. With the volumes of MS. journal, Mrs. Barton delivered 
one by mistake I suppose, which seems to have been the journal 
of some botanist. I presume it was the property of Dr. Barton, 
and therefore forward it to you to be returned to Mrs. Barton. 


Poplar Forest, November 25, 1817. 

Dear Sir, — I am highly gratified by the interest you take in 
our Central College, and the more so as it may possibly be- 
come an inducement to pass more of your time with us. It is 
even said you had thought of engaging a house in its neighbor- 
hood. But why another house ? Is not one enough ? and es- 
pecially one whose inhabitants are made so happy by your be- 
coming their inmate ? When you shall have a wife and family 
wishing to be to themselves, then the question of another house 
may be taken ad referendum. I wish Dr. Cooper could have 
the same partialities. He seems to have misunderstood my last 
letter ; in the former I had spoken of opening our Physical School 
in the spring of '19, but learning that that delay might render 
his engagement uncertain, the visitors determined to force their 
preparations so as to receive him by midsummer next, and so my 
letter stated. In one I now write, I recall his attention to that 
circumstance. But his decision will no doubt be governed by 
the result of the proposition, to permit the medical students of 
Philadelphia to attend him. I can never regret any circumstance 
which may add to his well-being, for I most sincerely wish him 
well. That himself and Mrs. Cooper will be happier in the so- 
ciety of Philadelphia, cannot be doubted. It would be flattering 


enough to ns to be his second choice. I find from his informa- 
tion that we are not to expect to obtain in this country either a 
classical or mathematical professor of the first order ; and as our 
institution cannot be raised above the common herd of academies, 
colleges, (fcc, already scattered over our country, but by super- 
eminent professors, we have determined to accept of no medioc- 
rity, and to seek in Europe for what is eminent. We shall go 
to Edinburgh in preference, because of the advantage to students 
of receiving communications in their native tongue, and because 
peculiar and personal circumstances will enable us to interest 
Dugald Stewart and Professor Leslie, of that College, in procur- 
ing us subjects of real worth and eminence. I put off writing to 
them for a classical and mathematical professor only until I see 
what our legislature, which meets on Monday next, is disposed 
to do, either on the question singly of adopting our college for 
their university, or on that of entering at once on a general sys- 
tem of instruction, for which they have for some time been pre- 
paring. For this last purpose I have sketched, and put into the 
hands of a member a bill, delineating a practicable plan, entirely 
within the means they already have on hand, destined to this object. 
My bill proposes, 1. Elementary schools in every county, which 
shall place every householder within three miles of a school. 2. 
District colleges, which shall place every father within a day's 
ride of a college where he may dispose of his son. 3. An uni- 
versity in a healthy and central situation, with the offer of the 
lands, buildings, and funds of the Central College, if they will 
accept that place for their establishment. In the 1st will be 
taught reading, writing, common arithmetic, and general notions 
of geography. In the 2d, ancient and modern languages, 
geography fully, a higher degree of numerical arithmetic, men- 
suration, and the elementary principles of navigation. In the 
3d, all the useful sciences in their highest degree. To all of 
which is added a selection from the elementary schools of sub- 
jects of the most promising genius, whose parents are too poor 
to give them further education, to be carried at the public ex- 
pense through the colleges and university. The object is tc 


bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty 
in every country, for want of the means of development, and 
thus give activity to a mass of mind, which, in proportion to our 
population, shall be the double or treble of what it is in most 
countries. The expense of the elementary schools for every 
county, is proposed to be levied on the wealth of the county, and 
all children rich and poor to be educated at these three years 
gratis. The expense of the colleges and university, admitting 
two professors to each of the former, and ten to the latter, can be 
completely and permanently established with a sum of five hun- 
dred thousand dollars, in addition to the present funds of our 
Central College. Our literary fund has already on hand, and ap- 
propriated to these purposes, a sum of seven hundred thousand 
dollars, and that increasing yearly. This is in fact and substance 
the plan I proposed in a bill forty years ago, but accommodated 
to the circumstances of this, instead of that day. I derive my 
present hopes that it may now be adopted, from the fact that the 
House of Representatives, at their last session, passed a bill, less 
practicable and boundlessly expensive, and therefore alone re- 
jected by the Senate, and printed for public consideration and 
amendment. Mine, after all, may be an Utopian dream, but 
being innocent, I have thought I might indulge in it till I go to 
the land of dreams, and sleep there with the dreamers of all past 
and future times. 

I have taken measm-es to obtain the crested turkey, and Avill 
endeavor to perpetuate that beautiful and singular characteristic, 
and shall be not less earnest in endeavors to raise the Moronnier. 
God bless you, and j)reserve you long in life and health, until 
wearied with delighting your kindred spirits here, you may wish 
to encounter the great problem, untried by the hving, unreported 
by the dead. 



MoNTiCKLio, December. 30, 1817. 

Dear Sir, — An absence of six weeks has occasioned joui 
letters of the 5th and 11th inst., to lie thus long unacknowl- 
edged. After I had sent off the two other Westover MSS. I re- 
ceived a third of the same journal. On perusing it I am not sen- 
sible by memory, of anything not contained in the former, ex- 
cept eight pages of a preliminary account of the abridgment of 
our limits by successive charters to other colonies. I suppose 
this to be a copy of the largest of the other two, entered fair in 
a folio volume, with other documents relating to the government 
of Virginia. It is bound in vellum, and, by the arms pasted iu 
it, seems to have been mtended for the shelves of the author's 
library. As this journal is complete it might enable lis to sup- 
ply the hiatuses of the other copies. 

I now send you the remains of my Indian vocabularies, some 
of which are perfect. I send with them the fragments of my 
digest of them, which were gathered up on the banks of the 
river where they had been strewed by the plunderers of the 
trunk in which they were. These will merely show the arrange- 
ment I had given the vocabularies, according to their affinities 
and degrees of resemblance or dissimilitude. 

If you can recover Capt. Lewis' collection, they will make 
an important addition, for there was no part of his instructions 
which he executed more fully or carefully, never meeting with 
a single Indian of a new tribe, without making his vocabulary 
the first object. What Professor Adelung mentions of the Em- 
press Catharine's having procured many vocabularies of our In- 
dians, is correct. She applied to M. de La Fayette, who, through 
the aid of General Washington, obtained several ; but I never 
learnt of what particular tribes. The great works of Pallas being 
rare, I will mention that there are two editions of it, the one in 
two volumes, the other in four volumes 4lo, :.i the library I 
ceded to Congress, which may be consulted. But the Professor's 
account of the supposed Mexican MS. is quite erroneous, nor cai. 

OORRESPOi^DEiilOJ!,. 97 

1 conceive through whom he can have receivea lus mlormation. 
It has probably been founded on an imperfect knowledge of the 
following fact : Soon after the acquisition of Louisiana, Gover- 
nor Claiborne foimd, in a private family there, a MS. journal 
kept, (I forget by whom,) but by a confidential officer of the 
French government, proving exactly by what connivance be- 
tween the agents of the compagnie d'occident, and the Span- 
iards, these last smuggled settlements into Louisiana, as far as 
Assinais, Adais, (fcc, for the purpose of covering the contraband 
trade of the company. Claiborne, being afraid to tru&t the origi- 
nal by mail, without keeping a copy, sent it on after being copied. 
It an-ived safe, and was deposited by me in the office of State. 
He then sent me the copy, on the destruction of the office at 
Washington by the British ; apprehending the original might be 
involved in that destruction, I sent the copy to Colonel Monroe, 
then Secretary of State, with a request to return it, if the origi- 
nal was safe, and to keep it, if not. I have heard no more of 
it. My intention was, and is, if it is returned to me, to deposit 
it with your committee for safe keeping or publication. While 
on the subject of Louisiana, I have thought I had better commit 
to you also an historical memoir of my own respecting the im- 
portant question of its limits. When we first made the purchase 
we knew little of its extent, having never before been interested 
to inquire into it. Possessing, then, in my library, everything 
respecting America which I had been able to collect by unre- 
mitting researches, during my residence in Europe, particularly 
and generally through my life, I availed myself of the leisure of 
my succeeding autumnal recess from Washington, to bring togeth- 
er everything which my collection furnished on the subject of 
its boundary. The result was the memoir I now send you, 
copies of which were furnished to our ministers at Paris and Mad- 
rid, for their information as to the extent of territory claimed un- 
der our purchase. The New Orleans MS. afterwards discovered, 
(iirnished some valuable supplementary proofs of title. 

I defer writing to the Secretary at War respecting the observa- 
tions of longitude and latitude by Capt. Lewis, until I learn from 


you whetlier tbey are recovered, and whether they are so com- 
plete as to be susceptilDle of satisfactory calculation. I salute 
you with- great respect and esteem. / 

TO MR. Wirt. 

' MoNxrcKLLO, January 5, 1818. 

I have first to thank you, dear Sir, for the copy of your late 
work which you have been so kind as to send me, and then to 
render you double congratulations, first, on the general applause 
it has so justly received, and next on the public testimony of 
esteem for its author, manifested by your late call to the execu- 
tive councils of the nation. All this I do heartily, and then pro- 
ceed to a case of business on which you will have to advise the 
government on the threshold of your office. You have seen the 
death of General Kosciusko announced in the papers in such a 
way as not to be doubted. He had in the funds of the United 
States a very considerable sum of money, on the interest of 
which he depended for subsistence. On his leaving the United 
States, in 1798, he placed it under my direction by a power of 
attorney, which I executed entirely through Mr. Barnes, who 
regularly remitted his interest. But he left also in my hands an 
autograph will, disposing of his funds in a particular course of 
charity, and making me his executor. The question the govern- 
ment will ask of you, and which I therefore ask, is in what court 
must this will be proved, and my qualification as executor be re- 
ceived, to justify the United States in placing these funds under 
the trust ? This is to be executed wholly in this State, and will 
occupy so long a course of time beyond what I can expect to 
live, that I think to propose to place it under the Court of Chan- 
cery. The place of probate generally follows the lesidence of 
the testator. That was in a foreign country in the present case. 
Sometimes the bona notabilia. The evidences or representations 
of these (the certificates) are in my hands. The things repre- 
sented (the money) in those of the United States. But where 


are the United States ? Everywhere, I suppose, where they have 
government or property Hable to the demand on payment. That 
is to say, in every State of the Union, in this, for example, as 
well as any other, strengthened by the circumstances of the de- 
posit of the will, the residence of the executor, and the place 
where the trust is to be executed. In no instance, I believe, 
does the mere habitation of the debtor draw to it the place of 
probate, and if it did, the United States are omnipresent by their 
functionaries, as well as property in every State of the Union. I 
am led by these considerations to suppose our district or general 
court competent to the object ; but you know best, and by your 
advice, sanctioned by the Secretary of the Treasury, I shall act. 
I write to the Secretary on this subject. If our district court will 
do, I can attend it personally ; if the general court only be com- 
petent, I am in hopes it will find means of dispensing with my 
personal attendance. I salute you with affectionate esteem and 


MoNTiCELLO, March 3, 1818. 

Dear Sir, — I have just received your favor of February 20th, 
in which you observe that Mr. Wirt, on page 47 of his Life of 
Patrick Henry, quotes me as saying that " Mr. Henry certainly 
gave the first impulse to the ball of revolution." I well recollect 
to have used some such expression in a letter to him, and am tol- 
erably certain that our own State being the subject under contem- 
plation, I must have used it with respect to that only. Whether 
he has given it a more general aspect I cannot say, as the pas- 
sage is not in the page you quote, nor, after thumbing over much 
of the book, have I been able to find it.* In page 417 there is 
something like it, but not the exact expression, and even there it 
may be doubted whether Mr. Wirt had his eye on Virginia alone, 
or on all the colonies. But the question, who commenced tha 
revolution ? is as difRcult as that of the first inventors of a thou- 

[* It was found page 41.] 


sand good things. For example, who first discovered the prin- 
ciple of gravity ? Not Newton ; for Galileo, who died the year 
that Newton was born, had measured its force in the descent of 
gravid bodies. Who invented the Lavoiserian chemistry ? The 
English say Dr. Black, by the preparatory discovery of latent 
heat. Who mvented the steamboat ? Was it Gerbert, the Mar- 
quis of Worcester, Newcomen, Savary, Papin, Pitch, Fulton ? 
The fact is, that one new idea leads to another, that to a third, 
and so on through a course of time until some one, with whom 
no one of these ideas was original, combines all together, and 
produces what is justly called a new invention. I suppose it 
would be as difficult to trace our revolution to its first embryo. 
We do not know how long it was hatching in the British cabinet 
before they ventured to make the first of the experiments which 
were to develop it in the end and to produce complete parliament- 
ary supremacy. Those you mention in Massachusetts as preced- 
ing the stamp act, might be the first visible symptoms of that de- 
sign. The proposition of that act in 1764, was the first here. 
Your opposition, therefore, preceded ours, as occasion was sooner 
given there than here, and the truth, I suppose, is, that the oppo- 
sition in every colony began whenever the encroachment was 
presented to it. This question of priority is as the inquiry would 
be who first, of the three hundred Spartans, offered his name to 
Leonidas ? I shall be happy to see justice done to the merits of 
all, by the unexceptionable umpirage of date and facts, and es- 
pecially from the pen which is proposed to he employed in it. 

I rejoice, indeed, to learn from you that Mr. Adams retains the 
strength of his memory, his faculties, his cheerfulness, and even 
his epistolary industry. This last is gone from me. The aver- 
sion has been growing on me for a considerable time, and now, 
near the close of seventy-five, is become almost insuperable. I 
am much debilitated in body, and my memory sensibly on the 
wane. Still, however, I enjoy good health and spirits, and am 
as industrious a reader as when a student at college. Not of 
newspapers. These I have discarded. I relinquish, as I ought 
to do, all intermeddling with public affairs, committing myself 


cheerfully to the watch and care of those for whom, in my turn 
T have watched and cared. When I contemplate the immenst 
advances in science and discoveries in the arts which have been 
made within the period of my life, I look forward with con- 
fidence to equal advances by the present generation, and have no 
doubt they will consequently be as much wiser than we have 
been as we than our fathers were, and they than the burners of 
•witches. Even the metaphysical contest, ^vhich you so pleas- 
antly described to me in a former letter, will probably end in im- 
provement, by clearing the mind of Platonic mysticism and un- 
intelligible jargon. Although age is taking from me the power 
of communicating by letter with my friends as industriously as 
heretofore, I shall still claim with them the same place they wil' 
ever hold iiT my affections, and on this ground I, with sincerity 
and pleasure, assm-e you of my great esteem and respect. 


MoNTiCELLO, March 14, 1818. 

Dear Sib, — Your letter of February 17th found me suffering 
under an attack of rheumatism, which has but now left me at 
sufficient ease to attend to the letters I have received. A plan 
of female education has never been a subject of systematic con- 
templation with me. It has occupied my attention so far only as 
the education of my own daughters occasionally required. Con- 
sidering that they would be placed in a country situation, where 
little aid could be obtained from abroad, I thought it essential tc 
give them a solid education, which might enable them, when be- 
come mothers, to educate their own daughters, and even to di- 
rect the course for sons, should their fathers be lost, or incapable, 
or inattentive. My surviving daughter accordingly, the mother 
of many daughters as well as sons, has made their education the 
object of her life, and being a better judge of the practical part 
than myself, it is with her aid and that of one of her eleves, that 


I shall subjoin a catalogue of the boolis for such a course of read- 
ing as we have practiced. 

A great obstacle to good education is the inordinate passion 
prevalent for novels, and the time lost in that reading which 
should be instructively employed. When this poison infects the 
mind, it destroys its tone and revolts it against wholesome read- 
ing. Reason and fact, plain and unadorned, are rejected. No- 
thing can engage attention unless dressed in all the figments of 
fancy, and nothing so bedecked comes amiss. The result is a 
bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all 
the real businesses of life. This mass of trash, however, is not 
Nvithout some distinction ; some few modelling their narratives, 
although fictitious, on the incidents of real life, have been able 
to make them interesting and useful vehicles of a sound morality. 
Such, I think, are Marmontel's new moral tales, but not his old 
ones, which are really immoral. Such are the writings of Miss 
Edge worth, and some of those of Madame Genlis. For a like 
reason, too, much poetry should not be indulged. Some is useful 
for forming style and taste. Pope, Dryden, Thompson, Shaks- 
peare, and of the French, Moliere, Racine, the Corneilles, may 
be read with pleasure and improvement. 

The French language, become that of the general intercourse 
of nations, and from their extraordinary advances, now the de- 
pository of all science, is an indispensable part of education for 
both sexes. In the subjoined catalogue, therefore, I have placed 
the books of both languages indifferently, according as the one 
or the other offers what is best. 

The ornaments too, and the amusements of life, are entitled 
to their portion of attention. These, for a female, are dancing, 
drawing, and music. The first is a healthy exercise, elegant and 
very attractive for young people. Every affectionate parent 
would be pleased to see his daughter qualified to participate with 
her companions, and without awkwardness at least, in the circles 
of festivity, of which she occasionally becomes a part. I<: is a 
necessary accomplishment, therefore, although of short i,ie , for 
the French rule is wise, that no lady dances after marriage. This 


is founded in solid physical reasons, gestation and nursing leav- 
ing little time to a married lady when this exercise can be either 
safe or innocent. Drawing is thought less of in this country 
tlian in Europe. It is an innocent and engaging amusement, 
often useful, and a qualification not to be neglected in one who 
is to become a mother and an instructor. Music is invaluable 
where a person has an ear. Where the^^ have not, it should not 
be attempted. It furnishes a delightful recreation for the hours 
of respite from the cares of the day, and lasts us through life. 
The taste of this country, too, calls for this accomplishment more 
strongly than for either of the others. 

I need say nothing of household economy, in which the 
mothers of our country are "generally skilled, and generally care- 
ful to instruct their daughters. We all know its value, and that 
diligence and dexterity in all its processes are inestimable treas- 
ures. The order and economy of a house are as honorable to the 
mistress as those of the farm to the master, and if either be neg- 
lected, ruin follows, and children destitute of the means of living. 

This, Sir, is oflFered as a summary sketch on a subject on which 
I have not thought much. It probably contains nothing but 
what has already occurred to yourself, and claims your accept- 
ance on no other groimd than as a testimony of my respect for 
yom- wishes, and of my great esteem and respect 


MoxTicELL", Mnv 17, ISIS. 

De.vb Sir, — I was so unfortunate as not to receive from Mi-. 
Holly's own hand 3^0 ur favor of January the 2Sth, being then at 
my other home. He dined only with my family, and left them 
with an impression which has filled me with regret that I did not 
partake of the pleasure his visit gave them. I am glad he is gone 
to Kentucky. Rational Christianity will thrive more rapidly 
there than here. They are freer from prejudices than we are, 
and bolder in grasping at truth. The time is not distant, though 


neither you nor I shall see it, when we shall be but a secondary 
people to them. Our greediness for wealth, and fantastical ex- 
pense, have degraded, and will degrade, the minds of our mari- 
time citizens. These are the peculiar vices of commerce. 

I had been long without hearing from you, but I had heard of 
you through a letter from Doctor Waterhouse. He wrote to re- 
claim against an expression of Mr. Wirt's, as to the commence- 
ment of motion in the revolutionary ball. The lawyers say that 
words are always to be expounded secunduin suhjectam materiem, 
which, in Mr. Wirt's case, was Virginia. It would, moreover, be 
as difficult to say at what moment the Revolution began, and 
what incident set it in motion, as to fix the moment that the em- 
bryo becomes an animal, or the act which gives him a beginning. 
But the most agreeable part of his letter was that which informed 
me of your health, your activity, and strength of memory ; and 
the most wonderful, that which assured me that you retained 
your industry and promptness in epistolary correspondence. 
Here you have entire advantage over me. My repugnance to 
the writing table becomes daily and hourly more deadly and in- 
surmountable. In place of this has come on a canine appetite 
for reading. And I indulge it, because I see in it a relief against 
the tcedium seneciutis ; a lamp to lighten my path througti the 
dreary wilderness of time before me, whose boiu'ne I see not. 
Losing daily all interest in the things around us, something else 
is necessary to fill the void. With me it is reading, which occu- 
pies the mind without the labor of producing ideas from my own 

I enter into all your doubts as to the event of the revolution of 
South America. They will succeed against Spain. But the 
dangerous enemy is within their own breasts. Ignorance and su- 
perstition will chain their minds and bodies under religious and 
military despotism. I do believe it would be better for tliem to 
obtain freedom by degrees only ; because that would by degrees 
bring on light and information, and qualify them to take charge 
of themselves understandingly ; with more certainty, if in the 
meantime, under so much control as may keep them at peace 


with one another. Surely, it is our duty to wish them indepen- 
dence and self-government, because they wish it themselves, 
and they have the right, and we none, to choose for themselves , 
and I wish, moreover, that our ideas may be erroneous, and theirs 
prove well founded. But these are speculations, my friend, which 
we may as well deliver over to those who are to see their de- 
velopment. We shall only be lookers on, from the clouds 
above, as now we look down on the labors, the hurry and bustle 
of the ants and bees. Perhaps in that super-mundane region, we 
may be amused with seeing the fallacy of our own guesses, and 
even the nothingness of those labors which have filled and agi- 
tated our own time here. 

En atte7idant, with sincere' affections to Mrs. Adams and your- 
self, I salute you both cordially. 


MoNTiCELLo, July 23, 1818. 

Sir, — Your favor of March 30th, 1817, came to my hands on 
the 1st of March, 1818. While the statement it contained of the 
many instances of your attention in sending to me your diiierent 
writings was truly flattering, it Avas equally mortifying to per- 
ceive that two only of the eight it enumerates, had ever come 
to my hands ; and that both of my acknowledgments of these 
had miscarried also. Your first favor of November 5th, 1809, 
was received by me on the 6th of May, 1810, and was an- 
swered on the 15th of July of the same year, with an acknowl- 
edgment of the receipt of your '' Essai general d^ education phys- 
ique morale, et iiitellectuelle" and of the high sense I entertained 
of its utility. I do not recollect through what channel I sent 
this answer, but have little doubt that it was through the office 
of our Secretary of State, and our minister then at the court of 

In a letter from Mr. E. I. Dupont of August 11, 1817, I re- 
ceived the favor of your " Esquisse d'un ouvrage sur I'educa- 


tioji comparee," which he said had been received by his fathej 
a few days before his death ; and on the 9th of September, 1817, 
I answered his letter, in which was the following paragrapn : 
"I duly received tho pamphlet of M. Jullien on Education, to 
whom I had been indebted some years before for a valuable work 
on the same subject. Of this I expressed to him my high esti- 
mation in a letter of thanks, which I trust he received. The 
present pamphlet is an additional proof of his useful assiduities 
on this interesting subject, which, if the condition of man is to 
be progressively ameliorated, as we fondly hope and believe, is 
to be the chief instrument in effecting it." I hoped that Mr. E. 
I. Dupont, in acknowledging to you the receipt of your letter to 
his father, would be the channel of conveying to you my thanks, 
as he was to me of the work for which they were rendered. 
Be assured. Sir, that not another scrip, either written or printed, 
ever came to me from you ; and that I was incapable of omitting 
the acknowledgments they called for, and of the neglect which 
you have had so much reason to impute to me. I know well 
the uncertainty of transmissions across the Atlantic, but never 
before experienced such a train of them as has taken place in 
your favors and my acknowledgments of them. You will per- 
ceive that the letter I am now answering was eleven months on 
its passage to me. 

The distance between the scenes of action of General Kos- 
ciusko and myself, during our revolutionary war, — his in the 
military, mine in the civil department, — was such, that I could 
give no particulars of the part he acted in that war. But im- 
mediately on the receipt of your letter, I wrote to General Arm- 
strong, who had been his companion in arms, and an aid to Gen- 
eral Gates, with whom General Kosciusko mostly seiwed, and 
requested him to give me all the details within his knowledge ; 
informing him for whom, and for what purpose they were asked. 
I received, two days ago only, the paper of which the enclosed 
is a copy, and copied by myself, because the original is in such a 
liandwritiug as I am confident no foreigner could ever decypher. 
However heavily pressed by the hand of age, and unequal to the 


duties of punctual correspondence, of which my friends generallj' 
would have a right to complain, if the cause depended on myself, 
I am happy to find that in that with yourself there has been no 
ground of reproach. Least of all things could I have omitted 
any researches within my power which might do justice to the 
memory of General Kosciusko, the brave auxiliary of my country 
in its struggle for liberty, and, from the year 1797, when our 
particular acquaintance began, my most intimate and much be- 
loved friend. On his last departure from the United States in 
1798, he left in my hands an instrument appropriating after his 
death all the property he had in our public funds, the price of 
his military services here, to the education and emancipation of 
as many of the children of bondage in this country as it sliould 
be adequate to. I am now too old to undertake a business de si 
longue halcine ; but I am taking measures to place it in such 
hands as will ensure a faithful discharge of the philanthropic in- 
tentions of the donor. I learn with pleasure your continued ef- 
forts for the instruction of the future generations of men, and, be- 
lieving it the only means of effectuating their rights, I wish them 
all possible success, and to yourself the eternal gratitude of those 
who will feel their benefits, and beg leave to add the assm-ance 
of my high esteem and respect. 


?Iontk:ki.lo, November 13, 1818. 

The public papers, my dear friend, announce the fatal event 
of which your letter of October the 20th had given me ominous 
foreboding. Tried myself in the school of affliction, by the loss 
of every form of connection which can rive the human heart, I 
Know well, and feel what you have lost, what you have suffered, 
are suffering, and have yet to endure. The same trials have 
taught me that for ills so immeasurable, time and silence are the 
only medicine. I will not, therefore, by useless condolences, 
open afresh the sluices of your grief, nor, although mingling sin- 


ceiely my tears with yours, will I say a word more where words 
are vain, but that it is of some comfort to us both, that the term 
is not very distant, at which we are to deposit in the same cere- 
ment, our sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence 
to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost, 
and whom we shall still love and never lose again. God bless 
you and support you under your heavy affliction. 


MoNTiOKLi.o, December 4, 1818. 

Deae Sir, — Yours of November the 8th has been some time 
received ; but it is in my power to give little satisfaction as to its 
inquiries. Dr. Franklin had many political enemies, as every 
character must, which, with decision enough to have opinions, 
has energy and talent to give them effect on the feelings of the 
adversary opinion. These enmities were chiefly in Pennsylvania 
and Massachusetts. In the former, they were merely of the pro- 
prietary party. In the latter, they did not commence till the 
Revolution, and then sprung chiefly from personal animosities, 
which spreading by little and little, became at length of some 
extent. Dr. Lee was his principal calumniator, a man of much 
malignity, who, besides enlisting his whole family in the same 
hostility, was enabled, as the agent of Massachusetts with the 
British government, to infuse it into that State with considera- 
ble effect. Mr. Izard, the Doctor's enemy also, but from a pe- 
cuniary transaction, never countenanced these charges against 
him. Mr. Jay, Silas Deane, Mr. Laurens, his colleagues also, ever 
maintained towards him unlimited confidence and respect. That 
he would have waived the formal recognition of our indepen- 
dence, I never heard on any authority worthy notice. As to the 
fisheries England was urgent to retain them exclusively, France 
neutral, and I believe, that had they been ultimately made a 
sine qu > no7i, our commissioners (Mr. Adams excepted) would 
hav(; relinquished them, rather than have broken off the treaty. 


To Mr. Adams' perseverance alone, on that point, I have always 
understood we were indebted for their reservation. As to the 
charge of subservience to France, besides the evidence of his 
friendly colleagues before named, two years of my own service 
with him at Paris, daily visits, and the most friendly and confi- 
dential conversation, convince me it had not a shadow of foun- 
dation. He possessed the confidence of that government in the 
highest degree, insomuch, that it may truly be said, that they 
were more under his influence, than he under theirs. The fact 
is, that his temper was so amiable and conciliatory, his conduct 
so rational, never urging impossibilities, or even things unreason- 
ably inconvenient to them, in short, so moderate and attentive to 
their difficulties, as well as our own, that what his enemies called 
subserviency, I saw was only that reasonable disposition, which, 
sensible that advantages are not all to be on one side, yielding 
what is just and liberal, is the more certain of obtaining liberality 
and justice. Mutual confidence produces, of course, mutual in- 
fluence, and this was all which subsisted between Dr. Franklin 
and the government of France. 

I state a few anecdotes of Dr. Franklin, within my own 
knowledge, too much in detail for the scale of Delaplaine's work, 
but which may find a cadre in some of the more particular views 
you contemplate. My health is in a great measure restored, and 
our family join with me in afl'ectionate recollections and assur- 
ances of respect. 


MoxTict-LLO, December 13, 1818. 

I thank your Excellency for the notice with which your let- 
ters favor me, of the liberation of France from the occupation 
of the allied powers. To no one, not a native, will it give more 
pleasure. In the desolation of Europe, to gratify the atrocious 
caprices of Bonaparte, France sinned much ; but she has sufi"er- 
ed more than retaliation. Once relieved from the incubus of her 


late oppression, she will rise like a giant from her slumbers. Hei 
soil and climate, her arts and eminent sciences, her central posi- 
tion and free constitution, will soon make her greater than she 
ever was. And I am a false prophet, if she does not at some fu- 
ture dsLj, remind of her sufferings those who have inflicted them 
the most eagerly. I hope, however, she will be quiet for the 
present, and risk no new troubles. Her constitution, as now 
amended, gives as much of self-government as perhaps she can 
yet bear, and will give more, when the habits of order shall have 
prepared her to receive more. Besides the gratitude which every 
American owes her, as our sole ally during the war of indepen- 
dence, I am additionally affectioned by the friendships I contract- 
ed there, by the good dispositions I witnessed, and by the courte- 
sies I received. 

I rejoice, as a moralist, at the prospect of a reduction of the 
duties on wine, by our national legislature. It is an error to view 
a tax on that liquor as merely a tax on the rich. It is a prohibi- 
tion of its use to the middling class of our citizens, and a con- 
demnation of them to the poison of whiskey, which is desolating 
their houses. No nation is drunken where wine is cheap ; and 
none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits 
as the common beverage. It is, in truth, the only antidote to the 
bane of whiskey. Fix but the duty at the rate of other mer- 
chandise, and we can drink wine here as cheap as we do grog ; 
and who will not prefer it ? Its extended use will carry health 
and comfort to a much enlarged circle. Every one in easy cir- 
cumstances (as the bulk of our citizens are) will prefer it to the 
poison to which they are now driven by their government. And 
the treasury itself will find that a penny a piece from a dozen, is 
more than a groat from a single one. This reformation, how- 
ever, will require time. Our merchants know nothing of the in- 
finite variety of cheap and good wines to be had in Europe ; 
and particularly in France, in Italy, and the Graecian islands ; as 
they know little also, of the variety of excellent manufacture's 
and comforts to be had anywhere out of England. Nor will 
these things be known, nor of course called for here, until the 


native merchants of those countries, to whom they are known, 
shall bring them forward, exhibit and vend them at the moderate 
profits they can afford. This alone will procure them familiarity 
with us, and the preference they merit in competition with corre- 
sponding articles now in use . 

Our family renew with pleasure their recollections of your 
kind visit to Monticello, and join me in tendering sincere assur- 
ances of the gratification it afforded us, and of our great esteem 
and respectful consideration. 


iloxTicKLi.o, January 12, 1819. 

Deab Sib, — The problem you had wished to propose to me 
Vv'as one which I could not have solved ; for I knew nothing of 
the facts. I read no newspaper now but Ritchie's, and in that 
chiefly the advertisments, for they contain the only truths to be 
relied on in a newspaper. -I feel a much greater interest in know- 
mg wiiat has passed two or three thousand years ago, than in 
what is now passing. I read nothing, therefore, but of the heroes 
of Troy, of the wars of Lacedasmon and Athens, of Pompey and 
Cajsar, and of Augustus too, the Bonaparte and parricide scoun- 
drel of that day. I have had, and still have, such entire confi- 
dence in the late and present Presidents, that I willingly put both 
soul and body into their pockets. While such men as yourself 
and your worthy colleagues of the legislature, and such characters 
as compose the executive administration, are watching for us all, 
I slumber without fear, and review in my dreams the visions of 
antiquity. There is, indeed, one evil which awakens me at 
times, becaust it jostles me at every tm-n. It is that we have 
now no measure of value. I am asked eighteen dollars for a 
yard of broadcloth, which, when we had dollars, I used to get 
for eighteen shillings ; from this I can only understand that a dol- 
lar is now worth fiut two inches of broadcloth, but broadcloth 
is no standard of measure or value. I do not know, therefore, 


whereabouts I stand in the scale of property, nor what to ask, or 
what tQ give for it. I saw, indeed, the like machinery in action 
in the years '80 and '81, and without dissatisfaction ; because in 
wearing out, it was working out our salvation. But I see no- 
thing in this renewal of the game of " Robin's alive" but a gene- 
ral demoralization of the nation, a filching from industry its hon- 
est earnings, wherewith to build up palaces, and raise gambling 
stock for swindlers and shavers, who are to close too their career 
of piracies by Iraudulent bankruptcies. My dependence for a 
remedy, however, is with the wisdom which grows with time and 
suffering. Whether the succeeding generation is to be more vir- 
tuous than their predecessors, I cannot say ; but I am sure they 
will have more worldly wisdom, and enough, I hope, to know 
that honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. I have 
made a great exertion to write you thus much ; my antipathy to 
taking up a pen being so intense that I have never given you a 
stronger proof, than in the effort of writing a letter, how much I 
value you, and of the superlative respect and friendship with 
which I salute you. 


MuNTiCKLi.o, Marcli 21, 1819. 

Dear Sm, — I am indebted to you for Mr. Bowditch's very 
learned mathematical papers, the calculations of which are not 
for every reader, although their results are readily enough under- 
stood. One of these impairs the confidence I had reposed in La 
Place's demonstration, that the eccentricities of the planets of our 
system could oscillate only within narrow limits, and therefore 
could authorize no inference that the system must, by its own 
laws, come one day to an end. This would have left the ques- 
tion one of infinitude, at both ends of the line of time, clear of 
physical authority. 

Mr. Pickering's pamphlet on the pronunciation of the Greek, 
for which I am indebted to you also, I have read with great 
pleasure. Early in life, the idea occurred to me that the people 


now inhabiting the ancient seats of the Greeks and Romans, 
although their languages in the intermediate ages had suffered 
great changes, and especially in the declension of their nouns, 
and in the terminations of their words generally, yet having pre- 
served the body of the word radically the same, so they would 
preserve more of its pronunciation. That at least it was prob- 
able that a pronunciation, handed down by tradition, would re- 
tain , as the words themselves do, more of the original than that 
of any other people whose language has no affinity to that origi- 
nal. For this reason I learnt, and have used the Italian pronun- 
ciation of the Latin. But that of the modern Greeks I had no 
opportunity of learning until I went to Paris. There I became 
acquainted with two learned Greeks, Count Carberri and Mr. 
Paradise, and with a lady, a native Greek, the daughter of Baron 
de Tott, who did not understand the ancient language. Carberri 
and Paradise spoke it. From these instructors I learnt the mod- 
ern pronunciation, and in general trusted to its orthodoxy. I say, 
in general, because sound being more fugitive than the written 
letter, we must, after such a lapse of time, presume in it some de- 
generacies, as we see there are in the written words. We may 
not, indeed, be able to put our finger on them confidently, yet 
neither are they entirely beyond the reach of all indication. For 
example, in a language so remarkable for the euphony of its 
sounds, if that euphony is preserved in particular combinations 
of its letters, by an adherence to the powers ordinarily ascribed 
to them, and is destroyed by a change of these powers, and the 
sound of the word thereby rendered harsh, inharrnonious, and 
inidiomatical, here we may presume some degeneracy has taken 
place. While, therefore, I gave in to the modern pronunciation 
generally, I have presumed, as au instance of degeneracy, their 
ascribing the same sound to the six letters, or combinations of 
letters, e, », u, ei, oi, ut, to all of which they give the sound of 
our double e in the word meet. This useless equivalence of 
three vowels and three diphthongs, did not probably exist among 
the ancient Greeks ; and the less probably as, while this single 
sound, ee, is overcharged by so many different representative 

VOL. v. S 


characters, the sounds we usually give to these characters and 
combinations would be left without any representative signs. 
This would imply either that they had not these sounds in their 
language, or no signs for their expression. Probability appears 
to me, therefore, against the practice of the modern Greeks of 
giving the same sound to all these different representatives, and 
to be in favor of that of foreign nations, who, adopting the 
Roman characters, have assimilated to them, in a considerable 
degree, the powers of the corresponding Greek letters. I have, 
accordingly, excepted this in my adoption, of the modern pronun- 
ciation. I have been more doubtful in the use of the uv, ev, t;., 
wi', sounding the ., upsilon, as our /or v, because I find traces of 
that power of v, or of u, in some modern languages. To go no 
further than our own, we have it in laugh, cough, trough, enough. 
The county of Louisa, adjacent to that in which I live, was, 
when I was a boy, universally pronounced Lovisa. That it is 
not the gh which gives the sound of / or v, in these words, is 
proved by the orthography oi plough, ti'ough, thought, fraught, 
caught. The modern Greeks themselves, too, giving up o, up- 
silon, in ordinary, the sound of our ee, strengthens the presump- 
tion that its anomalous sound of / or v, is a corruption. The 
same may be inferred from the cacophony of tluqu't (elavnej for 
thtvvf, (elawne,) .-/xdli-cfg (Achillefs) for J/jlleig, (Achilleise,) 
f(f; (eves) for fi;,, (eeuse,) oqx (ovk) for yx, (ouk,) uKfio^ (ovetos) 
for ixivioc, (o-u-tos,) 2>(jrs (zevs) for Shvg, (zese,) of which all nations 
have made their Jupiter ; and the uselessness of the v in evq.ufut, 
which would otherwise have been spelt tcpoi^io. I therefore except 
this also from what I consider as approvable pronunciation. 

Against reading Greek by accent, instead of quantity, as Mr 
Ciceitira proposes, I raise both my hands. What becomes of the 
sublime measure of Homer, the full sounding rhythm of Demos- 
thenes, if, abandoning quantity, you chop it up by accent ? What 
ear can hesitate in its choice between the two following rythms ? 

" Tdv, 6'aiTa/j.et6d/ievoc: ^pogefT) ■KO&a^ anvg A;i;iAAet)f, 


Tov d'a-rr/iei6o/ievdi npoietj)!) noSa; ux^i Xx'tMirvf," 


the latter noted according to prosody, the former by accent, ind 
dislocating our teeth in its utterance : every syllable of it, except 
the first and last, being pronounced against quantity And what 
becomes of the art of prosody ? Is that perfect coincidence of 
its rules vvith the structure of their verse, merely accidental ' or 
was it of design, and yet for no use. 

On the whole, I rejoice that this subject is taken up among 
us, and that it is in. so able hands as those of it. Pickering. 
Should he ultimately establish the modern pronunciation of the 
letters without any exception, I shall think it a great step gained, 
and giving up my exceptions, shall willingly raUy to him ; and 
as he has promised us another paper on the question whether we 
shall read by quantity or by accent, I can confidently' trust it to the 
correctness of his learning and judgment. Of the origin of ac- 
centuation, I have never seen satisfactory proofs. But I have 
generally supposed the accents were intended to direct the in- 
flections and modulations of the voice ; but not to affect the 
quantity of the syllables. You did not expect, I am sure, to 
draw on yourself so long a disquisition on letters and sounds, nor 
did I intend it, but the subject run before me, and yet I have 
dropped much of it by the way. 

I am dehghted with youi high approbation of ]\Ir. Tracy's 
book. The evils of this deluge of paper money are not to be re- 
moved, until our citizens are generally and radically instructed 
in their cause and consequences, and silence by their authority 
the interested clamors and sophistry of speculating, shaving, and 
banking institutions. Till then we must be content to return, 
quoad hoc, to the savage state, to recur to barter in the exchange 
of our property, for want of a stable, common measure of value, 
that now in use being less fixed than the beads and wampum of 
the Indian, and to dehver up our citizens, their property and their 
labor, passive victims to the swindling tricks of bankers and 
mountebankers. If I had your permission to put your letter into 
the hands of the editor, (ililUgan,) with or without any verbal alter- 
ations 5'ou might choose, it would ensure the general circulation, 
which my prospectus and prefatory letter will less effectually rec- 


ommend. There is nothing in the book of mine but these two 
articles, and the note on taxation in page 202. ' I never knew 
who the translator was ; but I thought him some one who under- 
stood neither French nor English ; and probably a Caledonian, , 
from the number of Scotticisms I found in his MS. The in- 
numerable corrections in that, cost me more labor than would 
have done a translation of the whole de novo ; and made at last 
but an inelegant although faithful version of the sense of the 
author. Dios guarde a V. S. muchos anos. 


Monti CELLO, March 21, 1819 

Sir, — ^Your letter of February the 18th came to hand on the 
1st instant ; and the request of the history of my physical habits 
would have puzzled me not a little, had it not been for the model 
with which you accompanied it, of Doctor Rush's answer to a 
similar inquiry. I live so much like other people, that I might 
refer to ordinary life as the history of my own. Like my friend 
the Doctor, I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, 
and that not as an aliment, so much as a condiment for the vege- 
tables, which constitute my principal diet. I double, however, 
the Doctor's glass and a half of wine, and even treble it with a 
friend ; but halve its effects by drinking the weak wines only. 
The ardent wines I cannot drink, nor do I use ardent spirits in 
any form. Malt liquors and cider are my table drinks, and my 
breakfast, like that also of my friend, is of tea and coffee. I 
have been blest with organs of digestion which accept and con- 
coct, "Without ever murmuring, whatever the palate chooses to 
consign to them, and I have not yet lost a tooth by age. I was 
a hard student until I entered on the business of life, the duties 
of which leave no idle time to those disposed to fulfil them ; and 
now, retired, and at the age of seventy-six, I am again a hard 
student. Indeed, my fondness for reading and study revolts me 
from the drudgery of letter writing. And a stiff wrist, the con- 


sequence ot an early dislocation, makes writing both slow and 
nainful. I am not so regular in my sleep as the Doctor says he 
was, devoting to it from five to eight hours, according as m^' 
company or the book I am reading interests me ; and I never go 
to bed without an hour, or half hour's previous reading of some- 
thing moral, whereon to ruminate in the intervals of sleep. But 
whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun. I use 
spectacles at night, but not necessarily in the day, unless in read- 
ing small print. My hearing is distinct in particular conversa- 
tion, but confused when several voices cross each other, which 
unfits me for the society of the table. I have been more fortu- 
nate than my friend in the article of health. So free from 
catarrhs that I have not had one, (in the breast, I mean) on an 
average of eight or ten years through life. I ascribe this ex- 
emption partly to the habit of bathing my feet in cold water 
every morning, for sixty years past. A fever of more than twen- 
ty-four hours I have not had above two or three times in my life. 
A periodical headache has afflicted me occasionally, once, per- 
haps, in six or eight years, for two or three weeks at a time, 
which seems now to have left me ; and except on a late occa- 
sion of indisposition, I enjoy good health ; too feeble, indeed, to 
walk much, but riding without fatigue six or eight miles a day, 
and sometimes thirty or forty. I may end these egotisms, there- 
fore, as I began, by saying that my life has been so much like 
that of other people, that 1 might say with Horace, to every one 
" nomine miitato, narratur fahula de te." I must not end, how- 
ever, without due thanks for the kind sentiments of regard you 
are so good as to express towards myself: and with my acknowl- 
edgments for these, be pleased to accept the assurances of my 
respect and esteem. 


MoNiicELLO, May 11, 1819. 

Dear Sir, — The interest on the late derangement of my health 
which was so kindly expressed by many, could not but be grati- 


fying to me, as much as it manifested a sentiment that I had not 
been merely an useless cypher of society. Yet a decline of health 
at the age of 76, was naturally to be expected, and is a warning 
of an event which cannot be distant, and whose approach I con- 
template with little concern ; for indeed, in no circumstance has 
nature been kinder to us, than in the soft gradations by which 
she prepares us to part willingly with what we are not destined 
always to retain. First one faculty is withdrawn and then an- 
other, sight, hearing, memory, affections, and friends, filched one 
by one, till we are left among strangers, the mere monuments of 
times, facts, and specimens of antiquity for the observation of the 

To your request of materials for writing my life, I know not 
what to say, although I have been obliged to say something to 
several preceding applications of the same kind. One answer in- 
deed is obviouS; that I am by decay of memory, aversion to la- 
bor, and cares more suited to my situation, unequal to such a 
task. Of the public transactions in which I have borne a part, I 
have kept no narrative with a view of history. A life of con- 
stant action leaves no time for recording. Always thinking of 
what is next to be done, what has been done is dismissed, and 
soon obliterated from the memory. I cannot be insensible to the 
partiality which has induced several persons to think my life 
worthy of remembrance. And towards none more than yourself, 
who give me so much credit more than I am entitled to, as to 
what has been effected for the safeguard of our republican con- 
stitution. Numerous and able coadjutors have participated in 
these efforts, and merit equal notice. My life, in fact, has been 
so much like that of others, that their history is my history, with 
a mere difference of feature. The only valuable materials for 
history which I possessed, were the pamphlets of the day, care- 
fully collected and preserved ; but these past on to Congress with 
my library, and are to be found in their depository. Except the 
Notes on Virginia, I never wrote anything but acts of office, of 
which I rarely kept a copy. These will all be found in the 
journals and gazettes of the times. There was a book published 


in England about 1801, or soon after, entitled "Public Charac- 
ters," in which was given a sketch of my nistory to that period. 
I never knew, nor could conjecture by whom this was written ; 
but certainly by some one pretty intimately acquainted with my- 
self and my connections. There were a few inconsiderable 
errors in it, but in general it was correct. Delaplaine, in his Re- 
pository, has also given some outlines on the same subject ; he 
sets out indeed with an error as to the county of my birth. 
Chesterfield, which he states as such, was the residence of my 
grandfather and remoter ancestors, but Albemarle was that of 
my father, and of my own birth and residence. Excepting this 
error, I remark no other but in his ascriptions of more merit than 
I have deserved. Girardin's History of Virginia, too, gives many 
particulars on the same subject, which are correct. These pub- 
lications furnish all the details of facts and dates which can in- 
terest anybody, and more than I could now furnish myself from 
a decayed memory, or any notes I retain. While, therefore, I 
feel just acknowledgments for the partial selection of a subject 
for your employment, I am persuaded you will perceive there is 
too little new and worthy of public notice to devote to it a time 
which may be so much more usefully employed ; and with a due 
sense of the partiality of your friendship, I salute you with assur- 
ances of the greatest esteem and respect. 


MoNTicELLO, May 12, 1819. 

SiE, — An absence of some time at an occasional and distant 
residence must apologize for the delay in acknowledging the re- 
ceipt of your favor of April 12th. And candor obliges me to add 
that it has been somewhat extended by an aversion to writing, 
,as well as to calls on my memory for facts so much obliterated 
from it by time as to lessen my confidence in the traces which 
seem to remain. One of the inquiries in your letter, however, 
may be answered without an apjieal to the memory. It is that 


respecting the question whether committees of correspondence 
originated in Virginia or Massachusetts ? On which you suppose 
me to have claimed it for Virginia. But certainly I have never 
made such a claim. The idea, I suppose, has been taken up 
from what is said in Wirt's history of Mr. Henry, p. 87, and from 
an inexact attention to its precise terms. It is there said " this 
house [of burgesses of Virginia] had the merit of originating that 
powerful engine of resistance, corresponding committees between 
the legislatures of the different colonies." That the fact as here 
expressed is true, your letter bears witness when it says that 
the resolutions of Virginia for this purpose were transmitted 
to the speakers of the different Assemblies, and by that of Massa- 
chusetts was laid at the next session before that body, who ap- 
pointed a committee for the specified object : adding, " thus in 
Massachusetts there were two committees of correspondence, one 
chosen by the people, the other appointed by the House of As- 
sembly ; in the former, Massachusetts preceded Virginia ; in the 
latter, Virginia preceded Massachusetts." To the origination of 
committees for the interior correspondence between the counties 
and towns of a State, I know of no claim on the part of Virginia ; 
but certainly none was ever made by myself. I perceive, how- 
ever, one error into which memory had led me. Our committee 
for national correspondence was appointed in March, '73, and I 
well remember that going to Williamsburg in the month of June 
following, Peyton Randolph, om- chairman, told me that mes- 
sengers, bearing despatches between the two States, had crossed 
each other by the way ; that of Virginia carrying our propositions 
for a committee of national correspondence, and that of Massa- 
chusetts bringing, as my memory suggested, a similar proposi- 
tion. But here I must have misremembered ; and the resolutions 
brought us from Massachusetts were probably those you mention 
of the town meeting of Boston, on the motion of Mr. Samuel 
Adams, appointing a committee " to state the rights of the colo- 
nists, and of that province in particular, and the infringements 
of them, to communicate them to the several towns, as the sense 
of the town of Boston, and to request of each town a free com- 


munication of its sentiments on this subject" ? I suppose, there- 
fore, that these resohitions were not received, as you think, while 
the House of Burgesses was in session in March, 1773 ; but a fev. 
days after we rose, and were probably what was sent by the 
messenger who crossed ours by the way. They may, however, 
have been still different. I must therefore have been mistaken in 
supposing and stating to Mr. Wirt, that the proposition of a com- 
mittee for national correspondence was nearly simultaneous in 
Virginia and Massachusetts. 

A similar misapprehension of another passage in Mr. Wirt's 
book, for which I am also quoted, has produced a similar reclam- 
ation of the part of Massachusetts by some of her most distin- 
guished and estimable citizens. I had been applied to by Mr. 
Wirt for such facts respecting Mr. Henry, as my intimacy with 
him, and participation in the transactions of the day, might have 
placed within my knowledge. I accordingly committed them 
to paper, and Virginia being the theatre of his action, was the 
only subject within my contemplation, while speaking of him. 
Of the resolutions and measures here, in which he had the ac- 
knowledged lead, I used the expression that " Mr. Henry certainly 
gave the first impulse to the ball of revolution." [Wirt, p. 41.] 
The expression is indeed general, and in all its extension would 
comprehend all the sister States. But indulgent construction 
would restrain it, as was really meant, to the subject matter un- 
der contemplation, which was Virginia alone ; according to the 
rule of the lawyers, and a fair canon of general criticism, that 
every expression should be construed secundum suhjectam mate- 
riem. Vv'here the first attack was made, there must have been 
of course, the first act of resistance, and that was of Massachu- 
setts. Our first overt act of war was Mr. Henry's embodying a 
force of militia from several counties, regularly armed and organ- 
ized, marching them in military array, and making reprisal on 
the King's treasury at the seat of government for the public 
powder taken away by his Goveriaor. This was on the last days 
of April, 1775. Your formal battle of Lexington was ten or 
twelve days before that, which greatly overshadowed in import- 


ance, as it preceded in time our little affray, which merely amount- 
ed to a levying of arms against the King, and very possibly you 
had had military affrays before the regular battle of Lexington. 

These explanations will, I hope, assure you. Sir, that so far as 
cither facts or opinions have been truly quoted from me^ they 
have never been meant to intercept the just fame of Massachu- 
setts, for the promptitude and perseverance of her early resist- 
ance. We willingly cede to her the laud of having been (al- 
though not exclusively) " the cradle of sound principles," and 
if some of us believe she has deflected from them in her course, 
we retain full confidence in her ultimate return to them. 

I will now proceed to your quotation from Mr. Galloway's 
statements of what passed in Congress on their declaration of 
independence, in which statement there is not one word of truth, 
and where, bearing some resemblance to truth, it is an entire per- 
version of it. I do not charge this on Mr. Galloway himself ; 
his desertion having taken place long before these measures, be 
doubtless received his information from some of the loyal friends 
whom he left behind him. But as yourself, as well as others, 
appear embarrassed by inconsistent accounts of the proceedings 
on that memorable occasion, and as those who have endeavored 
to restore the truth have themselves committed some errors, I 
will give you some extracts from a written document on that 
subject, for the truth of which I pledge myself to heaven and 
earth ; having, while the question of independence was under 
consideration before Congress, taken written notes, in my seat, 
of what was passing, and reduced them to form on the final con- 
clusion. I have now before me that paper, from which the fol- 
lowing are extracts : 

"■' On Friday the 7th of June, 1776, the delegates from Vir- 
ginia moved, in obedience to instructions from their constituents, 
that the Congress should declare that these united colonies are, 
and of right ought to be, free and independent States ; that they are 
absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all po- 
litical connection between them and the State of Great Britain 
IS, and ought to he totally dissolved ; that measures should be 


immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, 
and a confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely 
together. The house being obliged to attend at that time to 
some other business, the proposition was referred to the next day, 
when the members were ordered to attend punctually at ten 
o'clock. Saturday, June 8th, they proceeded to take it into con- 
sideration, and referred it to a committee of the whole, into 
which they immediately resolved themselves, and passed that 
day and Monday the 10th in debating on the subject. 

" It appearing in the course of these debates, that the colonies 
of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, 
and South Carolina were not yet matured for falling from the 
parent stem, but that they were fast advancing to that state, it 
was thought most prudent to wait awhile for them, and to post- 
pone the final decision to July 1st. But that this might occasion 
as little delay as possible, a committee was appointed to prepare 
a Declaration of Independence. The committee were J. Adams, 
Dr. Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston and mj^self. 
This was reported to the House on Friday the 28th of June, 
when it was read and ordered to lie on the table. On Monday 
the 1st of July the House resolved itself into a committee of the 
whole, and resumed the consideration of the original motion 
made by the delegates of Virginia, which being again debated 
through the day, was carried in the affirmative by the votes of 
New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New 
Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. South 
Carolina and Pensylvania voted against it. Delaware having but 
two members present, they were divided. The delegates for 
New York declared they were for it themselves, and were as- 
sured their constituents were for it ; but that their instructions 
having been drawn near a twelvemonth before, when reconcilia- 
tion was still the general object, they were enjoined by them to 
do nothing which should impede that object. They therefore 
thought themselves not justifiable in voting on either side, and 
asked leave to withdraw from the question, which was given 
them. The Committee rose and reported their resolution to the 


House. Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, then requested the 
determination might be put off to the next day, as he beheved 
his colleagues, though they disapproved of the resolution, would 
then join in it for the sake of unanimity. The ultimate ques- 
tion whether the House would agree to the resolution of the 
committee was accordingly postponed to the next day, when it 
was again moved, and South Carolina concurred in voting for it ; 
in the meantime a third member had come post from the Dela- 
ware counties, and turned the vote of that colony in favor of the 
resolution. Members of a different sentiment attending that 
morning from Pennsylvania also, their vote was changed ; so 
that the whole twelve colonies, who were authorized to vote at 
all, gave their votes for it ; and within a few days, [July 9th,] 
the convention of New York approved of it, and thus supplied 
the void occasioned by the withdrawing of their delegates from 
the vote." [Be careful to observe that this vacillation and vote 
was on the original motion of the 7th of June by the Virginia 
delegates, that Congress should declare the colonies independent.] 

" Congress proceeded the same day to consider the Declaration 
of Independence, which has been reported and laid on the table 
the Friday preceding, and on Monday referred to a committee 
of the whole. The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in 
England worth keeping terms with, still haunted the minds of 
many. For this reason those passages which conveyed censures 
on the people of England were struck out, lest they give them 
offence. The debates having taken up the greater parts of the 
2d, 3d and 4th days of July, were, in the evening of the last, 
closed. The declaration was reported by the committee, agreed 
to by the House, and signed by every member present except 
Mr. Dickinson." So far my notes. 

Governor McKean, in his letter to McCorkle of July 16th, 1817, 
has thrown some lights on the transactions of that day, but trust- 
ing to his memory chiefly at an age when our memories are not 
to be trusted, he has confounded two questions, and ascribed pro- 
ceedings to one which belonged to the other. These two ques- 
tions were, 1. The Tirginia motion of June 7th to declare ind.e- 


pendence, and 2. The actual declaration, its matter and form. 
Thus he states the question on the declaration itself as decided 
on the 1st of July. Bat it was the Virginia motion which was 
voted on that day in committee of the whole ; South Carolina, 
as well as Pennsylvania, then voting against it. Bat the ulti- 
mate decision in the House on the report of the committee being 
by request postponed to the next morning, all the States voted 
for it, except New York, whose vote was delayed for the reason 
before stated. It was not till the 2d of July that the declaration 
itself was taken up, nor till the 4th that it was decided ; and it 
was signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickinson. 

The subsequent signatures of members who were not then 
present, and some of them not yet in office, is easily explained, 
if we observe who they were ; to wit, that they were of New 
York and Pennsylvania. New York did not sign till the 15th, 
because it was not till the 9th, (five days after the general signa- 
ture,) that their convention authorized them to do so. The con- 
vention of Pennsylvania, learning that it had been signed by a 
minority only of their delegates, named a new delegation on 
the 20th, leaving out Mr. Dickinson, who had refused to sign. 
Willing and Humphreys who had withdrawn, reappointing the 
three members who had signed, Morris who had not been pres- 
ent, and five new ones, to wit. Rush, Clymer, Smith, Taylor 
and Ross ; and Morris and the five new members were permitted 
to sign, becaase it manifested the assent of their full delegation, 
and the express will of their convention, which might have been 
doubted on the former signature of a minority only. Why the 
signatm-e of Thornton of New Hampshire was permitted so late 
as the 4th of November, I cannot now say ; but undoubtedly for 
some particular reason which we should find to have been good, 
had it been expressed. These were the only post-signers, and 
you see, Sir, that there were solid reasons for receiving those of 
New York and Pennsylvania, and that this circumstance in no 
wise affects the faith of this declaratory charter of om- rights 
and of the rights of man. 

With a view to correct errors of fact before they become in- 


veterate by repetition, I have stated what I find essentially ma- 
terial in my papers ; but with that brevity which the labor of 
writing constrains me to use. 

On the fourth particular articles of inquiry in your letter, re- 
specting your grandfather, the venerable Samuel Adams, neither 
memory nor memorandums enable me to give any information. 
I can say that he was truly a great man, wise in council, fertile 
in resources, immovable in his purposes, and had, I think, a 
greater share than any other member, in advising and directing 
our measures, m the northern war especially. As a speaker he 
could not be compared with his living colleague and namesake, 
whose deep conceptions, nervous style, and undaunted firmness, 
made him truly our bulwark in debate. But Mr. Samuel Adams, 
although not of fluent elocution, was so rigorously logical, so 
clear in his views, abundant in good sense, and master always of 
his subject, that he commanded the most profound attention 
whenever he rose in an assembly by which the froth of decla- 
mation was heard with the most sovereign contempt. I sincerely 
rejoice that the record of his worth is to be undertaken by one 
so much disposed as you will be .to hand him down fairly to that 
posterity for whose liberty and happiness he was. so zealous a 

With sentiments of sincere veneration for his memory, accept 
yourself this tribute to it with the assurances of my great re- 

P. S. August 6th, 1822, since the date of this letter, to wit, 
this day, August 6th, '22, I received the new publication of the 
secret Journals of Congress, wherein is stated a resolution, July 
19th, 1776, that the declaration passed on the 4th be fairly en- 
grossed on parchment, and when engrossed, be signed by every 
member ; and another of August 2d, that being engrossed and 
compared at the table, was signed by the members. That is to 
say the copy engrossed on parchment (for durability) was signed 
by the members after being compared at the table with the origi- 
nal one, signed on paper as before stated. I add this P. S. to the 


copy of my letter to Mr. Wells, to prevent confounding the signa- 
ture cl' the original with that of the copy engrossed on parch- 


JIoNTirELT,o, June 25, 1819. 

Your favor, Sir, of the 14th, has been duly received, and with 
it the book you were so kind as to forward to me. For this 
mark of attention, be pleased to accept my thanks. The science 
of the human mind is curious, but is one on which I have not 
indulged myself in much speculation. The times in which I 
have lived, and the scenes in which I have been engaged, have 
required me to keep the mind too much in action to have leisure 
to study minutely its laws of action. I am therefore little quali- 
fied to give an opinion orj the comparative worth of books on 
that subject, and little disposed to do it on any book. Yours has 
brought the science within a small compass, and that is the merit 
of the first order ; and especially with one to whom the drudgery 
of letter writing often denies the leisure of reading a single page 
in a week. On looking over the summary of the contents of 
your book, it does not seem likely to bring into collision any of 
those sectarian differences which you suppose may exist between 
us. In that branch of religion which regards the moralities of 
life, and the duties of a social being, which teaches us to love 
our neighbors as ourselves, and to do good to all men, I am sure 
that you and I do not differ. We probably differ on the dogmas 
of theology, the foundation of all sectarianism, and on which no 
two sects dream alike ; for if they did they would then be 
of the same. You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. T 
am of a sect by myself, as far as I know. I am not a Jew, and 
therefore do not adopt their theology, which supposes the God of 
infinite justice to punish the sins of the fathers upon their chil- 
dren, unto the third and fourth generation ; and the benevolent 
and sublime reformer of that religion has told us only that God 
is good and perfect, but has not defined him. I am, therefore, 


of his theology, believing' that we have neither words nor ideas 
adequate to that definition. And if we could all, after this ex- 
ample, leave the subject as undefinable, we should all be of one 
sect, doers of good, and eschewers of evil. No doctrines of his 
lead to schism. It is the speculations of crazy theologists which 
have made a Babel of a religion the most moral and sublime ever 
preached to man, and calculated to heal, and not to create differ- 
ences. These religious animosities I impute to those who call 
themselves his ministers, and who engraft their casuistries on the 
stock of his simple precepts. I am sometimes more angry wi(h 
them than is authorized by the blessed charities which he 
preaches. To j^ourself I pray the acceptance of my great respect. 


MONTICELLO, July fl, 1819. 

Deak Sie, — I am in debt to you for your letters of May the 
21st, 27th, and June the 22d. The first, delivered me by Mr. 
Greenwood, gave me the gratification of his acquaintance ; and a 
gratification it always is, to be made acquainted with gentlemen 
of candor, worth, and information, as I found Mr. Greenwood lo 
be. That, on the subject of Mr. Samuel Adams Wells, shall not 
be forgotten in time and place, when it can be used to his ad- 

But what has attracted my peculiar notice, is the paper from 
Mecklenburg county, of North Carolina, published in the Essex 
Register, which you were so kind as to enclose in your last, of 
June the 22d. And you seem to think it genuine. I believe it 
spurious. I deem it to be a very unjustifiable quiz, like that of 
the volcano, so minutely related to us as having broken out in 
North Carolina, some half a dozen years ago, in that part of the 
country, and perhaps in that very county of Mecklenburg, for I 
do not remember its precise locality. If this paper be really taken 
from the Raleigh Register, as quoted, I wonder it should have 
escaped Ritchie, who culls what is good from every paper, as 
the bee from every flower ; and the National Intelligencer, too, 


which is edited by a North Carolinian ; and that the fire should 
blaze out all at once in Essex, one thousand miles from where 
the spark is said to have fallen. But if really taken from the 
Raleigh Register, who is the narrator, and is the name subscijbed 
real, or is it as fictitious as the paper itself ? It appeals, too, to 
an original book, which is burnt, to Mr. Alexander, who is dead, 
to a joint letter from Caswell, Hughes, and- Hooper, all dead, to 
a copy sent to the dead Caswell, and another sent to Doctor 
Williamson, now probably dead, whose memory did not recollect, 
in the history he has written of North Carolina, this gigantic 
step of its county of Mecklenberg. Horry, too, is silent in his 
history of Marion, whose scene of action was the country border- 
ing on Mecklenburg. Ramsay, Marshall, Jones, Girardin, Wirt, 
historians of the adjacent States, all silent. When Mr. Henry's 
resolutions, far short of independence, flew like lightning through 
every paper, and kindled both sides of the Atlantic, this flaming 
declaration of the same date, of the independence of Mecklen- 
burg county, of North Carolina, absolving it from the British al- 
legiance, and abjuring all political connection with that nation, 
although sent to Congress too, is never heard of. It is not known 
even a twelvemonth after, when a similar proposition is first 
made in that body. Armed with this bold example, would not 
you have addressed our timid brethren in peals of thunder on 
their tardy fears ? Would not every advocate of independence 
have rung the glories of Mecklenberg county in North Carolina, 
in the ears of the doubting Dickinson and others, who hung so 
heavily on us ? Yet the example of independent Mecklenberg 
county, in North Carolina, was never once quoted. The paper 
speaks, too, of the continued exertions of their delegation (Cas- 
well, Hooper, Hughes) " in the cause of liberty and indepen- 
dence." Now you remember as well as I do, that we had not a 
greater tory in Congress than Hooper ; that Hughes was very 
wavering, sometimes firm, sometimes feeble, according as the day 
was clear or cloudy ; that Caswell, indeed, was a good whig, and 
kept these gentlemen to the notch, while he was present ; but 
that he left us soon, and their line of conduct became then un- 

VOL. VII. 9 


certain until Penn came, who fixed Hughes and the vote of the 
State. I must not be understood as suggesting any doubtfulness 
m the State of North Carolina. No State was more fixed or for- 
ward. Nor do I affirm, positively, that this paper is a fabrica- 
tion ; because the proof of a negative can only be presumptive. 
But I shall believe it such until positive and solemn proof of its 
authenticity be produced. And if the name of McKnitt be real, 
and not a part of the fabrication, it needs a vindication by the 
production of such proof. For the present, I must be an unbe- 
liever in the apocryphal gospel. 

I am glad to learn that Mr. Ticknor has safely returned to his 
friends ; but should have been much more pleased had he accept- 
ed the Professorship in our University, which we should have 
offered him in form. Mr. Bowditch, too, refuses us ; so fascinat- 
ing is the vinculum of the dulce natale solutn. Our wish is to 
procure natives, where they can be found, like these gentlemen, 
of the first order of requirement in their respective lines ; but 
preferring foreigners of the first order to natives of the second, 
we shall certainly have to go for several of our Professors, to 
countries more advanced in science than we are. 

I set out within three or four days for my other home, the dis- 
tance of which, and its cross mails, are great impediments to epis- 
tolary communications. I shall remain there about two months ; 
and there, here, and everywhere, I am and shall always be, affec- 
tionately and respectfully yours. 


Poplar FoiiKt,T, August '24, 1819. 

Sir, — The acknowledgment of your favor of July 15th, and 
thanks for the Review which it covered of Mr. Pickering's 
Memoir on the Modem Greek, have been delayed by a visit to 
an occasional hut distant residence from Monticello, and to an 
attack here of rheumatism which is just now moderating. I had 


been much pleased with the memoir, and was much also with 
your review of it. I have little hope indeed of the recovery of 
the ancient pronunciation of that finest of human languages, but 
still I rejoice at the attention the subject seems to excite with 
you, because it is an evidence that our country hegins to have 
a taste for something more than merely as much Greek as will 
pass a candidate for clerical ordination. 

You ask my opinion on the extent to which classical learning 
should be carried in our country. A sickly condition permits me 
to think, and a rheumatic hand to write too briefly on this litigat- 
ed qnestiou. The utilities we derive from the remains of the 
Greek and Latin languages are, first, as models of pure taste in 
writing. To these we are certainly indebted for the national 
and chaste style of modern composition which so much dis- 
tinguishes the nations to whom these languages are familiar. 
Without these models we should probably have continued the 
inflated style of our northern ancestors, or the hyperbolical and 
vague one of the east. Second. Among the values of classical 
learning, I estimate the luxury of reading the Greek and Roman 
authors in all the beauties of their originals. And why should 
not this innocent and elegant luxury take, its preeminent stand 
ahead of all those addressed merely to the senses ? I think my- 
self more indebted to my father for this than for all the other lux- 
uries his cares and affections have placed within my reach ; and 
more now than when younger, and more susceptible of delights 
from other sources. When the decays of age have enfeebled the 
useful energies of the mind, the classic pages fill up the vacuum 
of ennui, and become sweet composers to that rest of the grave 
into which we are all sooner or later to descend. Third. A third 
value is in the stores of real science deposited and transmitted us 
in these languages, to-wit : in history, ethics,- arithmetic, geom- 
etry, astronomy, natural history, &c. 

But to whom are these things useful ? Certainly not to all 
men. There are conditions of life to which they must be for- 
ever estranged, and there are epochs of life too, after which the 
endeavor to attain them would be a great misemplovment of 


time. Their acquisition should be the occupation of our early 
years only, when the memory is susceptible of deep and ^.asting 
impressions, and reason and judgment not yet strong enough for 
abstract speculations. To the moralist they are valuable, be- 
cause they furnish ethical writings highly and justly esteemed ; 
although in my own opinion, the moderns are far advanced be- 
yond them in this line of science, the divine finds in the Greek 
language a translation of his primary code, of more importance 
to him than the original because better understood ; and, in the 
same language, the newer code, with the doctrines of the earliest 
fathers, who lived and wrote before the simple precepts of the 
founder of this most benign and pure of all systems of morality 
became frittered into subtleties and mysteries, and hidden under 
jargons incomprehensible to the human mind. To these original 
sources he must now, therefore, return, to recover the virgin pu- 
rity of his religion. The lawyer finds in the Latin language the 
system of civil law most conformable with the principles of justice 
of any which has ever yet been established among men, and 
from which much has been incorporated into our own. The 
physician as good a code of his art as has been given us to this 
day. Theories and systems of medicine, indeed, have been in 
perpetual change from the days of the good Hippocrates to the 
days of the good Rush, but which of them is the true one ? the 
present, to be sure, as long as it is the present, but to yield its 
place in turn to the next novelty, which is then to become the 
true system, and is to mark the vast advance of medicine since 
the days of Hippocrates. Our situation is certainly iDenefited 
by the discovery of some new and very valuable medicines ; and 
substituting those for some of his with the treasure of facts, and 
of sound observations recorded by him (mixed to be sure with 
anilities of his day) and we shall have nearly the present sunv 
of the healing art. The statesman will find in these language* 
history, politics, mathematics, ethics, eloquence, love of country, 
to which he must add the sciences of his own day, for which of 
them should be unknown to him ? And all the sciences must 
recur to the classical languages for the etymon, and sound under- 


standing of their fundamental terms. For the merchant I should 
not say that the languages are a necessary. Ethics, mathemat- 
ics, geography, political economy, history, seem to constitute the 
immediate foundations of his calling. The agriculturist needs 
ethics, mathematics, chemistry and natural philosophy. The 
mechanic the same. To them the languages are but ornament 
and comfort. I know it is often said there have been shining 
examples of men of great abilities in all the businesses of life, 
•without any other science than what they had gathered from con- 
versations and intercourse with the world. But who can say 
what these men would not have been had they started in the 
science on the shoulders of a Demosthenes or Cicero, of a Locke 
or Bacon, or a Newton ? To sum the whole, therefore, it may 
truly be said that the classical languages are a solid basis for 
most, and an ornament to all the sciences. 

I am warned by my aching fingers to close this hasty sketch, 
and to place here my last and fondest wishes for the advance- 
ment of our country in the useful sciences and arts, and my 
assurances of respect and esteem for the Reviewer of the Memoir 
on modern Greek. 


Poplar Forkst, September 6, 1819. 

Dear Sir, — I had read in the Enquirer, and with great appro- 
bation, the pieces signed Hampden, and have read them again 
with redoubled approbation, in the copies you have been so kind 
as to send me. I subscribe to every title of them. They con- 
tain the true principles of the revolution of 1800, for that was as 
real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 
1776 was in its form ; not efi"ected indeed b};- the sword, as that, 
but by the rational and peaceable instrument of reform, the suf- 
frage of the people. The nation declared its will by dismissing 
fmictionaries of one principle, and electing those of another, lu 
the two branches, executive and legislative, submitted to their 


election. Over the judiciary department, the constitution had 
deprived them of their control. That, therefore, has continued 
the reprobated system, and although new matter has been occa- 
sionally incorporated into the old, yet the leaven of the old mass 
seems to assimilate to itself the new, and after twenty years' con- 
firmation of the federated system by the voice of the nation, de- 
clared through the medium of elections, we find the judiciary en 
every occasion, still driving us into consolidation. 

In denying the right they usurp of exclusively explaining the 
constitution, I go further than you do, if I understand rightly 
your quotation from the Federalist, of an opinion that " the ju- 
diciary is the last resort in relation to the other departtnents of 
the governnient, but not in relation to the rights of the parties tc 
the compact under which the judiciary is derived." If this 
opinion be sound, then indeed is our constitution a complete felo 
de se. For intending to establish three departments, co-ordinate 
and independent, that they might check and balance one another, 
it has given, according to this opinion, to one of them alone, the 
right to prescribe rules for the government of the others, and to 
that one too, which is unelected by, and independent of the na- 
tion. For experience has already shown that the impeachment 
it has provided is not even a scare -crow ; that such opinions as 
the one you combat, sent cautiously out, as you observe also, by 
detachment, not belonging to the case often, but sought for out 
of it, as if to rally the public opinion beforehand to their views, 
and to indicate the line they are to walk in, have been so quietly 
passed over as never to have excited animadversion, even in a 
speech of any one of the body entrusted with impeachment. 
The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in 
the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into 
any form they please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of 
eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government 
is independent, is absolute also ; in theory only, at first, while the 
spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. 
Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in 
ma'is. They are inherently independent of all but moral law. 


My construction of the constitution is very different from that 
you quote. It is that each department is truly independent of 
the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the 
meaning of the constitution in the cases submitted to its action ; 
and especially, where it is to act ultimately and without appeal. 
I will explain myself by examples, which, having occurred while 
I was in office, are better known to me, and the principles which 
governed them. 

A legislatm'e had passed the sedition law. The lederal courts 
had subjected certain individuals to its penalties of fine and im- 
prisonment. On coming into office, I released these individuals 
by the power of pardon committed to executive discretion, which 
could never be more properly exercised than where citizens were 
suffering without the authority of law, or, which was equivalent, 
under a law unauthorized by the constitution, and therefore null. 
In the case of Marbury and Madison, the federal judges declared 
that commissions, signed and sealed by the President, were valid, 
although not delivered. I deemed delivery essential to complete 
a deed, which, as long as it remains in the hands of the party, is 
as yet no need, it is in posse only, but not in esse, and I with- 
held delivery of the commissions. They cannot issue a man- 
damus to the President or legislature, or to any of their officers.* 

When the British treaty of arrived, without any provision 

against the impressment of our seamen, I determined not to rati- 
fy it. The Senate thought I should ask their advice. I thought 
that would be a mockery of them, when I was predetermined 
against following it, should they advise its ratification. The 
constitution had made their advice necessary to confirm a treaty, 
but not to reject it. This has been blamed by some ; but I have 
never doubted its soundness. In the cases of two persons, an- 
tenati, under exactly similar circumstances, the federal court had 
determined that one of them (Duane) was not a citizen ; the 
House of Representatives nevertheless determined that the other 
(Smith, of South CaroHna) was a citizen, and admitted him to 
his seat in their body. Duane was a republican, and Smith a 

* The constitution controlling the common law in this particilar. 


federalist, and these decisions were made during the federal as- 

These are examples of my position, that each of the three de^ 
partments has equally the right to decide for itself what is its 
duty under the constitution, without any regard to what the 
others may have decided for themselves under a similar question. 
But you intimate a wish that my opinion should he known on 
this subject. No, dear Sir, I withdraw from all contests of 
opinion, and resign everything cheerfully to the generation now 
in place. They are wiser than we were, and their successors 
will be wiser than they, from the progressive advance of science. 
Tranquillity is the summum bonum of age. I wish, therefore, to 
offend no man's opinion, nor to draw disquieting animadversions 
on my own. While duty required it, I met opposition with a 
firm and fearless step. But loving mankind in my individual 
relations with them, I pray to be permitted to depart in their 
peace ; and like the superannuated soldier, " quadragenis sti- 
pendiis emeritis," to hang my arms on the post. I have unwisely, 
I fear, embarked in an enterprise of great public concern, but 
not to be accomplished within my term, without their liberal and 
prompt support. A severe illness the last year, and another from 
which I am just emerged, admonish me that repetitions may be 
expected, against which a declining frame cannot long bear up. 
I am anxious, therefore, to get our University so far advanced as 
may encourage the public to persevere to its final accomplish- 
ment. That secured, I shall sing my nmic demittas. I hope 
your labors will be long continued in the spirit in which they 
have always been exercised, in maintenance of those principles 
on which I verily believe the future happiness of our country 
essentially depends. I salute you with affectionate and great 



JIoNTicisi.LO, September 22, 1819. 

1 thank yon, Sir, for the remarks on the pronunciation of the 
Greek language which you have been so kind as to send me. I 
have read them with pleasure, as I had the pamphlet of Mr. 
Pickering on the same subject. This question has occupied long 
and learned inquiry, and cannot, as I apprehend, be ever positive- 
ly decided. Very early in my classical days, I took up the idea 
that the ancient Greek language having been changed by degrees 
into the modern, and the present race of that people having re- 
ceived it by tradition, they had of course better pretensions to 
the ancient pronunciation also, than any foreign nation could 
have. When at Paris, I became acquainted with some learned 
Greeks, from whom I took pains to learn the modern pronunci- 
ation. But I could not receive it as genuine in toto. I could 
not believe that the ancient Greeks had provided six different 
notations for the simple sound of <, iota, and left the five other 
sounds which we give to n, v, i-i, ot, ui, without any characters 
of notation at all. I could not acknowledge the i, upsillon, as 
an equivalent to our v, as in A/tUfyg, which they pronounce 
Achillevs, nor the ) , gamma, to oiu- y, as in uX. ;, which they pro- 
nounce alye. I concluded, therefore, that as experience proves 
to us that the pronunciation of all languages changes, in their 
descent through time, that of the Greek must have done so also 
in some degree ; and the more probably, as the body of the words 
themselves had substantially changed, and I presumed that the 
instances above mentioned might be classed with the degener- 
acies of time ; a presumption strengthened by their remarkable 
cacophony. As to all the other letters, I have supposed we 
might yield to their traditionary claim of a more orthodox pro- 
nunciation. Indeed, they sound most of them as we do, and, 
where they diifer, as in the f, (5, x, their souiids do not revolt us, 
nor impair the beauty of the language. 

If we adhere to the Erasmian pronunciation, we must go to 
Italy for it, as we must do for the most probably correct pronun- 


ciation of the language of the Romans, because rejecting the 
modern, we must argue that the ancient pronunciation was prob- 
ably brought from Greece, with the language itself; and, as Italy- 
was the country to which it was brought, and from which it eman- 
ated to other nations, we must presume it better presei-ved there 
than with the nations copying from them, who would be apt to af- 
fect its pronunciation with some of their own national peculiarities. 
And in fact, we find that no two nations pronounce it alike, 
although all pretend to the Erasmian pronunciation. But the 
■whole subject is conjectural, and allows therefore full and lawful 
scope to the vagaries of the human mind. I am glad, however, 
to see the question stirred here ; because it may excite among 
our young countrymen a spirit of inquiry and criticism, and lead 
them to more attention to this most beautiful of all languages. 
And wishing that the salutary example you have set may have 
this good effect, I salute you with great respect and consideration- 


MoNTioi.,i.LO, October 31, 1819. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of the 21st is received. My late ill- 
ness, in which you are so kind as to feel an interest, was produced 
by a spasmodic stricture of the ilium, which came upon me on 
the 7th inst. The crisis was short, passed over favorably on the 
fourth day, and I should soon have been well but that a dose of 
calomel and jalap, in which were only eight or nine grains of 
the former, brought on a salivation. Of this, however, nothing 
now remains but a little soreness of the mouth. I have been 
able to get on horseback for three or four days past. 

As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurian. I consider the 
genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing 
everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome 
have left us. Epictetus indeed, has given us what was good of 
the stoics ; all beyond, of their dogmas, being hypocrisy and 
grimace. Their great crime was 'in their calumnies of Epicurus 


and misrepresentations of his doctrines ; in which we lament to 
see the candid character of Cicero engaging as an accomplice. 
Diffuse, vapid, rhetorical, hut enchanting. His prototype Plato, 
eloquent as himself, dealing out mysticisms incomprehensible to 
the human mind, has been deified by certain sects usiu-ping the 
name of Christians ; because, in his foggy conceptions, they found 
a basis of impenetrable darkness whereon to rear fabrications as 
delirious, of their own invention. These they fathered blasphe- 
mously on him whom they claimed as their founder, but who 
would disclaim them with the indignation which their carica- 
tures of his religion so justly excite. Of Socrates we have no- 
thing genuine but in the Memorabilia of Xenophon; for Plato 
makes him one of his Collocutors merely to cover his own 
whimsies under the mantle of his name ; a libertjr of which we 
are told Socrates himself complained. Seneca is indeed a fine 
moralist, disfiguring his work at times with some Stoicisms, and 
afli'ecting too much of antithesis and point, yet giving us on the 
whole a great deal of sound and practical morality. But the 
greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own 
country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his 
from the rubbish in which it is bmied, easily distinguished by 
its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from 
that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of 
a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen 
from the lips of man ; outlines which it is lamentable he did not 
live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicm-us give laws for governing 
ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities we owe 
to others. The estabhshment of the innocent and genuine char- 
acter of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the im- 
putation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems,* 
invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word 
ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which 

"■■ e. g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the 
world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, hig 
corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regener- 
ation, election, orders of Hierarchy, <Sjo. 


Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It 
would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the 
heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed 
over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted man- 
kind ; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain from 
the chaff of the historians of his life. I have sometimes thought 
of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerable translat- 
ed into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus 
from the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract from the Evan- 
gelists of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine im- 
agination of Jesus. The last I attempted too hastily some twelve 
or fifteen years ago. It was the work of two or three nights 
only, at Washington, after getting through the evening task of 
reading the letters and papers of the day. But with one foot in 
the grave, these are now idle projects for me. My business is to 
beguile the wearisomeness of declining life, as I endeavor to do, 
by the delights of classical reading and of mathematical truths, 
and by the consolations of a sound philosophy, equally indiffer- 
ent to hope and fear. 

I take the liberty of observing that you are not a true disciple 
of our master Epicurus, in indulging the indolence to which you 
say you are yielding. One of his canons, you know, was that 
" that indulgence which presents a greater pleasure, or produces 
a greater pain, is to be avoided." Your love of repose will lead, 
in its progress, to a suspension of healthy exercise, a relaxation 
of mind, an indifference to everything around you, and finally to 
a debility of body, and hebetude of mind, the farthest of all 
things from the happiness which the well-regulated indulgences 
of Epicurus ensure ; fortitude, you know, is one of his four car- 
dinal virtues. That teaches us to meet and suriiiount diflicul- 
ties; not to fly from them, like cowards; and to fly, too, in vain, 
for they will meet and arrest us at every turn of our road. Weigh 
this matter well; brace yourself up ; take a seat with Correa, and 
come and see the finest portion of your country, which, if you 
have not forgotten, you still do not know, because it is no longer 
the same as when you knew it. It wfll add much to the happi- 


ness of my recovery to be able to receive Correa and yourself, 
and prove the estimation in which I hold 5-ou both. Come, too, 
and see our incipient University, which has advanced with great 
activity this year. By the end of the next, we shall have elegant 
accommodations for seven professors, and the year following the 
professors themselves. No secondary character will be received 
among them. Either the ablest which America or Europe can 
furnish, or none at all. They will give us the selected society 
of a great city separated from the dissipations and levities of its 
ephemeral insects. 

I am glad the bust of Condorcet has been saved and so well 
placed. His genius should be before us; while the lamentable, 
but singular act of ingratitude which tarnished his latter days, 
may be thrown behind us. 

I will place under this a syllabus of the doctrines of Epicurus, 
somewhat in the lapidary style, which I wrote some twenty years 
ago, a like one of the philosophy of Jesus, of nearly the same 
age, is too long to bo copied. Vale, et tibi persuade carissimum 
te esse niihi. 

Syllabus of the doctrines of Epicurus. 

Physical. — The Universe eternal. 

Its parts, great and small, interchangeable. 

Matter and Void alone. 

Motion inherent in matter which is weighty and declining. 

Eternal circulation of the elements of bodies. 

Gods, an order of beings next superior to man, enjoying m 
their sphere, their own felicities ; but not meddling with the con- 
cerns of the scale of beings below them. 

Moral. — Happiness the aim of life. 

Virtue the foundation of happiness. 

Utility the test of virtue. 

Pleasure active and In-do-lent. 

In-do-lence is the absence of pain, the true felicity. 

Active, consists in agreeable motion ; it is not happiness, but 
the means to produce it. 


Thus the absence of hunger is an article of felicity ; eating 
the means to obtain it. 

The summiim bonum is to be not pained in body, nor troubled 
in mind. 

i. e. In-do-lence of body, tranquillity of mind. 

To procure tranquillity of mind we must avoid desire and fear, 
the two principal diseases of the mind. 

Man is a free agent. 

Virtue consists in 1. Prudence. 2. Temperance. 3. Fortitude. 
4. Justice. 

To which are opposed, 1. Folly. 2. Desire. 3. Fear. 4. Deceit. 


McKNTicELLn, November 7, 1819. 

Dear Sir, — Three long and dangerous illnesses within the last 
twelve months, must -apologize for my long silence towards you. 

The paper bubble is then burst. This is what you and I, and 
every reasoning man, seduced by no obliquity of mind or inter- 
est, have long foreseen ; yet its disastrous effects are not the less 
for having been foreseen. We were laboring under a dropsical 
fulness of circulating medium. Nearly all of it is now called in 
by the banks, who have the regulation of the safety-valves of 
our fortunes, and who condense and explode them at their will. 
Lands in this State cannot now be sold for a year's rent ; and 
unless our Legislature have wisdom enough to effect a remedy 
by a gradual diminution only of the medium, there will be a gen- 
eral revolution of property in this State. Over our own paper 
and that of other States coming among us, they have competent 
powers; over that of the bank of the United States there is doubt, 
not here, but elsewhere. That bank will probably conform vol- 
untarily to such regulations as the Legislature may prescribe for 
the others. If they do not, we must shut their doors, and join 
the other States which deny the right of Congress to establish 
banks, and solicit them to agree to some mode of settling this 


constitutional question. They have themselves twice decided 
against their right, and twice for it. Many of the States have 
been uniform in denying it, and between such parties the Con- 
stitution has provided no umpire. I do not know particularly 
the extent of this distress in the other States ; but southwardly 
and westwardly I believe all are involved in it. God bless you, 
and preserve you many years. 


MoNTioELLo, Novembei' 10, 1819. 

SiK, — Your letter, and the draught of a memorial proposed to 
be presented to the Legislature, are duly received. With respect 
to impressions from any differences of political opinion, whether 
major or minor, alluded to in your letter, I have none. I left 
them all behind me on quitting Washington, where alone the 
state of things had, till then, required some attention to them. 
Nor was that the lightest part of the load I was there disburthened 
of; and could I permit myself to believe that with the change 
of circumstances a corresponding change had taken place in the 
minds of those who differed from me, and that I now stand in 
the peace and good will of my fellow-citizens generally, it would 
indeed be a sweetening ingredient in the last dregs of my life. 
It is not then from that source that my testimony may be scanty, 
but from a decaying memory, illy retaining things of recent trans- 
action, and scarcely with any distinctness those of forty years 
back, the period to which your memorial refers : general im- 
pressions of them -remain, but details are mostly obliterated. 

Of the transfer of your corps from the general to the State 
line, and the other facts in the memorial preceding my entrance 
on the administration of the State government, June 2, 1779, I, 
of course, have no knowledge ; but public documents, as well as 
living witnesses, will probably supply this. In 1780, I remem- 
ber your appointment to a command in the militia sent under 
General Stevens to the aid of the Carolinas, of which fact the 


commission signed by myself is sufficient proof. But I have no 
particular recollections which respect yourself personally in that 
service. Of what took place during Arnold's invasion in the sub- 
sequent winter I have more knowledge, because so much passed 
under my own eye, and I have the benefit of some notes to aid 
my memory. In the short interval of fifty-seven hours between 
our knowing they had entered James river and their actual de- 
barkation at Westover, we could get together but a small body of 
militia, (my notes say of three hundred men only, ) chiefly from the 
city and its immediate vicinities. You were placed in the com- 
mand of these, and ordered to proceed to the neighborhood of 
the enemy, not with any view to face them directly with so 
small a force, but to hang on their skirts, and to check their 
march as much as could be done, to give time for the more dis- 
tant militia to assemble. The enemy were not to be delayed, 
however, and were in Richmond in twenty-four hours from their 
being formed on shore at Westover. The day before their ar- 
rival at Richmond, I had sent my family to Tuckahoe, as the 
memorial states, at which place I joined them about 1 o'clock of 
that night, having attended late at Westham, to have the public 
stores and papers thrown across the river. You came up to us 
at Tuckahoe the next morning, and accompanied me, I think, to 
Britton's opposite Westham, to see about the further safety of the 
arms and other property. Whether you stayed there to look 
after them, or went with me to the heights of Manchester, and 
returned thence to Britton's, I do not recollect. The enemy 
evacuated Richmond at noon of the 5th of January, having re- 
mained there but twenty-three hours. I returned to it in the 
morning of the 8th, they being still encamped at Westover and 
Berkley, and yourself and corps at the Forest. They re-em- 
barked at 1 o'clock of the 10th. The particulars of your move- 
ments down the river, to oppose their re-landing at different 
points, I do not specifically recollect, but, as stated in the me- 
morial, they are so much in agreement with my general impress- 
ions, that I have no doubt of their correctness, and I know that 
your conduct from the first advance of the enemy to his depar- 


ture, "was approved by myself and by others generally. The 
rendezvous of the militia at the Tuckahoe bridge, and your hav- 
ing the command of them, I think I also remember, but nothing 
of their subsequent movements. The legislature had adjourned 
to meet at Charlottesville, where, at the expiration of my second 
year, I declined a re-election in the belief that a military man 
would be more likely to render services adequate to the exigencies 
of the times. Of the subsequent facts, therefore, stated in the 
memorial, I have no knowledge. 

This, Sir, is the sum of the information I am able to give on 
the subjects of your memorial, and if it may contribute to the 
purposes of justice in your case, I shall be happy that in bearing 
testimony to the truth, I shall have rendered you a just service. 
I return the memorial and commission, as requested, and pray 
you to accept my respectful salutations. 


iloNTiCELLo, November 28, 1819. 

Dear Sir, — The distresses of our country, produced first b^ 
the flood, then by the ebb of bank paper, are such as cannot fail 
to engage the interposition of the legislature. Many propositions 
will, of course, be offered, from all of which something may 
probably be culled to make a good whole. I explained to you 
my project, when I had the pleasure of possessing you here ; and 
I now send its outline in writing, as I believe I promised you. 
Although preferable things will I hope be offered, yet some twig 
of this may perhaps be thought worthy of being engrafted on a 
better stock. But I send it with no particular object or request, 
but to use it as you please. Suppress it, suggest it, sound opin- 
ions, or anything else, at will, only Keeping my name unmen- 
tioned, for which purpose it is copied in another hand, being 
ever solicitous to avoid all offence which is heavily felt, when 
retired from the bustle and contentions of the world. If we suffer 
the moral of the present lesson to pass away without improvement 

VOL. VII. 10 


by the eternal suppression of bank paper, then indeed is the con 
dition of our country desperate, until the slow advance of public 
instruction shall give to our functionaries the wisdom of theii 
station. Vale, et tibi persuade carisshnum te mihi esse. 

Plan for reducing the circulating medium. 

The plethory of circulating medinm which raised the prices 
of everything to several times their ordinary and standard value, 
in which state of things many and heavy debts were contracted ; 
and the sudden withdrawing too great a proportion of that me- 
dium, and reduction of prices far below that standard, constitute 
the disease under which we are now laboring, and which must 
end in a general revolution of property, if some remedy is not ap- 
plied. That remedy is clearly a gradual redaction of the medium 
to its standard level, that is to say, to the level which a metallic 
medium will always find for itself, so as to he. in equilibrio with 
that of the nations with which we have commerce. 

To effect this, 

Let the whole of the present paper medium be suspended in 
its circulation after a certain and not distant day. 

Ascertafn by proper inquiry the greatest sum of it which has 
at any one time been in actual circulation. 

Take a certain term of years for its gradual reduction, suppose 
\t to be five years ; then let the solvent banks issue I of that 
amount in new notes, to be attested by a public officer, as a se- 
curity that neither more or less is issued, and to he given out in 
exchange for the suspended notes, and the surplus in discount. 

Let ^th of these notes bear on their face that the bank will 
discharge them with specie at the end of one year ; another 5th 
at the end of two years ; a third 5th at the end of three years ; 
and so of the 4th and 5th. They will be sure to be brought in' 
at their respective periods of redemption. 

Make it a high offence to receive or pass within this State a 
note of any other. 

There is little doubt that our banks will agree readily to this 
operation ; if they refuse, declare their charters forfeited by their 


former irregularities, and give summary process against them for 
the suspended notes. 

The Bank of the United States will probably concur also ; if 
not, shut their doors and join the other States in respectful, but 
firm applications to Congress, to concur in constituting a tri- 
bunal (a special convention, e. g.) for settling amicably the ques- 
tion of then- right to institute a bank, and that also of the States 
to do the same. 

A stay-law for the suspension of executions, and their discharge 
at five annual instalments, should be accommodated to these 

Interdict forever, to both the State and national governments, 
the power of establishing any paper bank ; for without this in- 
terdiction, we shall have the same ebbs and flows of medium, 
and the same revolutions of property to go through every twenty 
or thirty years. 

In this way the value of property, keeping pace nearly with 
the sum of circulating medium, will descend gradually to its 
proper level, at the rate of about i every year, the sacrifices of 
what shall be sold for payment of the first instalments of debts 
will be moderate, and time will be given for economy and indus- 
try to come in aid of those subsequent. Certainly no nation 
ever before abandoned to the avarice and jugglings of private 
individuals to regulate, according to their own interests, the 
quantum of circulating medium for the nation, to inflate, by 
deluges of paper, the nominal prices of property, and then to buy 
up that property at Is. in the pound, having first withdrawn the 
» floating medium which might endanger a competition in pur- 
chase. Yet this is what has been done, and will be done, unless 
stayed by the protecting hand of the legislature. The evil has 
been produced by the error of their sanction of this ruinous ma- 
chinery of banks ; and justice, wisdom, duty, all require that 
they should interpose and arrest it before the schemes of plunder 
and spoliation desolate the country. It is believed that Harpiea 
are already hoarding their money to commence these scenes on 
the separation 'of the legislature; and we know that lands have 
been already sold under the hammer for less than a year's rent. 



MoNTiOELLO, December 10, ISiy. 

Deak Sir, — I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favoi 
of November the 23d. The banks, bankrupt law, manufactures, 
Spanish treaty, are nothing. These are occurences which, like 
waves in a storm, will pass under the ship. But the Missouri 
question is a breaker on which we lose the Missouri country by 
revolt, and what more, God only knows. From the battle of 
Bunker's Hill to the treaty of Paris, we never had so ominous a 
question. It even damps the joy with which I hear of your 
high health, and welcomes to me the consequences of my want 
of it. I thank God that I shall not live to witness its issue. Sed 
hcBC hactenus. 

I have beeniamusing myself latterly with reading the volumi- 
nous letters of Cicero. They certainly breathe the purest effu- 
sions of an exalted patriot, while the parricide Cassar is lost in 
odious contrast. When the enthusiasm, however, kindled by 
Cicero's pen and principles, subsides into cool reflection, I ask 
myself, what was that government which the virtues of Cicero 
were so zealous to restore, and the ambition of Caesar to subvert ? 
And if Cassar had been as virtuous as he was daring and saga- 
cious, what could he, even in the plenitude of his usurped pow- 
er, have done to lead his fellow citizens into good government ? 
I do not say to restore it, because they never had it, from the 
rape of the Sabines to the ravages of the Ca3sars. If their peo- 
ple indeed had been, like ourselves, enlightened, peaceable, and 
really free, the answer would be obvious. " Restore indepcn'-# 
dence to all your foreign conquests, relieve Italy from the govern- 
ment of the rabble of Rome, consult it as a nation entitled to 
self-government, and do its will." But steeped in corruption, 
vice and venality, as the whole nation was, (and nobody had 
done more than Caesar to corrupt it,) what could even Cicero, 
Cato, Brutus have done, had it been referred to them to establish 
a good government for their country ? They had no ideas of 
government themselves, but of their degenerate Senate, nor the 


people of liberty, but of the factious opposition of thtir Tribunes. 
They had afterwards their Tituses, their Trajans and Antoni- 
nuses, who had the will to make them happy, and the power to 
mould their governmant into a good and permanent form. But 
it would seem as if they could not see their way clearly to do it. 
No government can continue good, but under the control of the 
people ; and their people were so demoralized and depraved, as to 
be incapable of exercising a wholesome control. Their refor- 
mation then was to be taken up ab incunabulis. Their minds 
were to be informed by education what is right and what wrong ; 
to be encouraged in habits of virtue, and deterred from those of 
vice by the dread of punishments, proportioned indeed, but irre- 
missible ; in all cases, to follow truth as the only safe guide, and 
to eschew error, which bewilders us in one false consequence 
after another, in endless succession. These are the inculcations 
necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure of 
order and good government. But this would have been an oper- 
ation of a generation or two, at least, within which period would 
have succeeded many Neros and Commoduses, who would have 
quashed the whole process. I confess then, I can neither see 
what Cicero, Cato and Brutus, united and uncontrolled, could 
have devised to lead their people into good government, nor how 
this enigma can be solved, nor how further shown why it has 
been the fate of that delightful country never to have known, to 
this day, and through a course of five and twenty hundred years, 
the history of which we possess, one single day of free and ra- 
tional government. Your intimacy with their history, ancient 
middle and modern, your familiarity with the improvements in 
the science of government at this time, will enable you, if any 
body, to go back with our principles and opinions to the times 
of Cicero, Cato and Brutus, and tell us by what process these 
great and" virtuous men could have led so unenlightened and vi- 
tiated a people into freedom and good government, et eris mihi 
magnus Apollo. Cura ut valeas, et tibi persuadeas carisjimum 
te mihi esse. 



MoNTEziLLO, December 21, 1819. 

Dear Sir, — I must answer your great question of the 10th 
in the words of Dalembert to his correspondent, who abked him 
what is matter — " Je vous avoue je ne sqais rien.'''' In some 
part of my life I record a great work of a Scotchman on the 
court of Augustus, in which, with much learning, hard study, 
and fatiguing labor, he undertook to prove that had Brutus and 
Cassius been conqueror, they would have restored virtue and 
liberty to Rome. 

Mais je n^en crois rien. Have you ever found in history one 
single example of a nation, thoroughly corrupted, that was after- 
wards restored to virtue, and without virtue there can be no po- 
litical liberty. 

If I were a Calvinist, I might pray that God by a miracle of 
divine grace would instantaneously convert a whole contaminated 
nation from turpitude to purity ; but even in this I should be in- 
consistent, for the fatalism of Mahometanism, Materialists, Athe- 
ists, Pantheists, and Calvinists, and church of England articles, 
appear to me to render all prayer futile and absurd. The French 
and the Dutch, in our day, have attempted reforms and revolu- 
tions. We know the results, and I fear the English reformers 
will have no better success. 

Will you tell me how to prevent riches from becoming the ef- 
fects of temperance and industry. Will you tell me how to pre- 
vent riches from producing luxury. Will you tell me how to 
prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extrava- 
gance, vice and folly ? When you will answer me these ques- 
tions, I hope I may venture to answer yours ; yet all these ought 
not to discourage us from exertion, for with my friend Jeb, I be- 
lieve no effort in favor of virtue is lost, and all good men ought 
to struggle both by their council and example. 

The Missouri question, 1 hope, will follow the other waves 
under the ship, and do no harm. I know it is high treason to 
express a doubt of the perpetual duration of our vast American 


empire, and our free institution ; and I say as devoutly as father 
Paul, estor perpetua, but I am sometimes Cassandra enough to 
dream that another Hamilton, and another Burr, might rend this 
mighty fabric in twain, or perhaps into a leash ; and a few more 
choice spirits of the same stamp, might produce as many nations 
in North America as there are in Europe. 

To return to the Romans. I never could discover that they 
possessed much virtue, or real liberty. Their Patricians were in 
general griping usurers, and tyrannical creditors in all ages. 
Pride, strength, and courage, were all the virtues that composed 
their national characters ; a few of their nobles effecting sim- 
plicity, frugality, and piety, perhaps really possessing them, ac- 
quired popularity amongst the plebeians, and extended the power 
and dominions of the republic, and advanced in glory till riches, 
and luxury come in, sat like an incubus on the Republic, victam 
que ulcissitur orbem. 

Our winter sets in a fortnight earlier than usual, and is pretty 
severe. I hope you have fairer skies, and milder air. Wishing 
your health may last as long as your life, and your life as long 
as you desire it, I am, dear Sir, respectfully and affectionately, 


MoNTicELLo, March 12, 1820 

I thank you, dear Sir, for the information in your favor of the 
4th instant, of the settlement, for the present, of the Missouri 
question. I am so completely withdrawn from all attention to 
public matters, that nothing less could arouse me than the defi- 
nition of a geographical line, which on an abstract principle is to 
become the line of separation of these State?, and to render des- 
perate the hope that man can ever enjoy the two blessings of 
peace and self-government. The question sleeps for the present, 
but is not dead. This State is in a condition of unparalleled dis- 
tress. The sudden reduction of the circulating medium from 
a plethory to all but annihilation is producing an entire revolution 


of fortune. In other places I have known lands sold by the 
sheriff for one year's rent ; beyond the mountain we hear of 
good slaves selling for one hundred dollars, good horses for five 
dollars, and the sheriffs generally the purchasers. Our produce 
is now selling at market for one-third of its price, before this 
commercial catastrophe, say flour at three and a quarter and three 
and a half dollars the barrel. We should have less right to ex- 
pect relief from our legislators if they had been the establishers 
of the unwise system of banks. A remedy to a certain degree 
was practicable, that of reducing the quantum of circulation 
gradually to a level with that of the countries with which we 
have commerce, and an eternal abjuration of paper. But they 
have adjourned without doing anything. I fear local insurrec- 
■ tions against these hori'ible sacrifices of property. In every con- 
dition of trouble or tranquillity be assured of my constant esteem 
and respect. 


MoNTicKLi.o, March 14, 1820. 

Deah Sir, — A continuation of poor health makes me an ir- 
regular correspondent. I am, therefore, your debtor for the two 
letters of January 20th and February 21st. It was after you 
left Europe that Dugald Stuart, concerning whom you inquire, 
and Lord Dare, second son of the Marquis of Lausdovvn, came 
to Paris. They brought me a letter from Lord Wycorpbe, whom 
you knew. I became immediately intimate with Stuart, calling 
mutually on each other and almost daily, during their stay at 
Paris, which was of some months. Lord Dare was a young man 
of imagination, with occasional flashes indicating deep penetra- 
tion, but of much caprice, and little judgment. He has been 
long dead, and the family title is now, I believe, in the third son, 
who has shown in Parliament talents of a superior order. Stuart 
is a great man, and among the most honest living. I have heard 
nothing of his dying at top, as you suppose. Mr. Ticknor, how- 
ever, can give you the best information on that subject, as he 


must have heard particularly of him when in Edinburgh, al- 
though I believe he did not see him. I have understood he was 
then in London superintending the publication of a new work. 
I consider him and Tracy as the ablest metaphysicians living ; 
by which I mean investigators of the thinking faculty of man. 
Stuart seems to have given its natural history from facts and ob- 
servations ; Tracy its modes of action and dedaction, which he 
cplls Logic, and Ideology ; and Cabanis, in his Physique et 
Morale de I'Homme, has investigated anatomically, and most in- 
geniously, the particular organs in the human structure which 
may most probably exercise that faculty. And they ask why 
may not the mode of action called thought, have been given to 
a material organ of peculiar structure, as that of magnetism is to 
the needle, or of elasticity to the spring by a particular manipu- 
lation of the steel. They observe that on ignition of the needle 
or spring, their magnetism and elasticity cease. So on dissolu- 
tion of the material organ by death, its action of thought may 
cease also, and that nobody supposes that the magnetism or elas- 
ticity retire to hold a substantive and distinct existence. These 
were qualities only of particular conformations of matter ; change 
the conformation, and its qualities change also. Mr. Locke, you 
know, and other materialists, have charged with blasphemy the 
spiritualists who have denied the Creator the power of endowing 
certain forms of matter with the faculty of thought. These, 
however, are speculations and subtleties in Avhich, for my own 
part, I have little indulged myself. When I meet with a propo- 
sition beyond finite comprehension, I abandon it as I do a weight 
which human strength cannot lift, and I think ignorance, in these 
cases, is truly the softest pillow on which I can lay my head. 
Were it necessary, however, to form an opinion, I confess I 
should, with Mr. Locke, prefer swallowing one incomprehensi- 
bility rather than two. It requires one effort only to admit the 
single incomprehensibility of matter endowed with thought, and 
two to believe, first that of an existence called spirit, of which 
vre have neither evidence nor idea, and then secondly how that 
spirit, which has neither extension nor solidity, can put material 


organs into motion. These are things which you and I may 
perhaps know ere long. We have so lived as to fear neither 
horn of the dilemma. We have, willingly, done injury to no 
man ; and have done for our country the good which has fallen 
in our way, so far as commensurate with the faculties given us. 
That we have not done more than we could, cannot be imputed 
to us as a crime before any tribunal. I look, therefore, to the 
crisis, as I am sure you also do, as one " qui sunimutn nee metuii 
diem nee optat." In the meantime be our last as cordial as were 
our first affections. 


MoNTiCELLO, April 5, 1820. 

Sir, — A near relation of my late friend Governor Langdon, 
needs no apology for addressing a letter to me, that relationship 
giving sufficient title to all my respect. We were fellow labor- 
ers from the beginning of the first to the accomplishment of the 
second revolution in our government, of the same zeal and the 
■same sentiments, and I shall honor his memory while memory 
remains to me. The letter you mention is proof of my friend- 
ship and unreserved confidence in him ; it was written in warm 
times, and is therefore too warmly expressed for the more rec- 
onciled temper of the present day. I must pray you, therefore, 
not to let it get before the public, lest it rekindle a flame which 
burnt too long and too fiercely against me. It was my lot to be 
placed at the head of the column which made the first breach in 
the ramparts of federalism, and to be charged, on that event, with 
the duty of changing the course of the government from what 
we deemed a monarchical, to its republican tack. This made 
me the mark for every shaft which calumny and falsehood could 
point against me. I bore them 'with resignation, as one of the 
duties imposed on me by my post. But I assure you it was 
among the most painful duties from which I hoped to find relief 
in retirement. Tranquillity is the summum honum of old age 
and ill health, and nothing could so much disturb this with me 


as to awaken angry feelings from the slumber in which I wish 
them ever to remain. I beseech you then, good Sir, in the name 
of my departed friend, not to bring on me a contention which 
neither duty nor public good require me to encounter. 

I regret the circumstances which have .deprived us of the pleas- 
ure of your visit, but console myself with the French proverb 
that " all is not lost which is deferred," and the hope that more 
favorable circumstances will some day give us that gratification. 
I congratulate you on the sleep of the Missouri question. I wish 
I could say on its death, but of this I despair. The idea of a 
geographical line once suggested will brood in the minds of all 
those who prefer the gratification of their .ungovernable passions 
to the peace and union of their country. If I do not contem- 
plate this subject with pleasure, I do sincerely that of the inde- 
pendence of Maine, and the wise choice they have made of 
General King in the agency of their affairs, and I tender to your- 
self the assurance of my esteem and respect. 


MoNTicELLo, April 13, 1820. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of March the 27th is received, and as 
you request, a copy of the syllabus is now enclosed. It was 
originally written to Dr. Rush. On his death, fearing that the 
inquisition of the public might get hold of it, I asked the return 
of it from the family, which they kindly complied with. At 
the request of another friend, I had given him a copy. He lent 
it to Ids friend to read, who copied it, and in a few months it 
appeared in the Theological Magazine of London. Happily that 
repository is scarcely known in this country, and the syllabus, 
therefore, is still a secret, and in your hands I am sure it will con- 
tinue so. 

Bat while this syllabus is meant to place the character of Jesus 
in its true and high light, as no impostor himself, but a great re- 
former of the Hebrew code of religion, it is not to be understood 


that I am with him in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist ; he 
takes the side of Spiritualism ; he preaches the efficacy of re- 
pentance towards forgiveness of sin ; I require a counterpoise of 
good works to redeem it, &c., &c. It is the innocence of his 
character, the purity and sublimity of his moral precepts, the 
eloquence of his inculcations, the beauty of the apologues in 
which he conveys them, that I so much admire ; sometimes, in- 
deed, needing indulgence to eastern hyperbolism. My eulogies, 
too, may be founded on a postulate which all may not be ready 
to grant. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by 
his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct 
morality, and of the most lovely benevolence ; and others, again, 
of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, 
charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that 
such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. 
I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross ; restore to him the 
former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery 
of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, 
Paul was the great Coryphasus, and first corrupter of the doc- 
trines of Jesus. These palpable interpolations and falsifications 
of his doctrines, led me to try to sift them apart. I found the 
work obvious and easy, and that his part composed the most beau- 
tiful morsel of morality which has been given to us by man. 
The syllabus is therefore of his doctrines, not all of mine. I read 
them as I do those of other ancient and modern moralists, with 
a mixture of approbation and dissent. 

I rejoice, with you, to see an encouraging spirit of internal im- 
provement prevailing in the States. The opinion I have ever 
expressed of the advantages of a western communication through 
the James river, I still entertain ; and that the Cayuga is the 
most promising of the links of communication. 

The history of our University you know so far. Seven of the 
ten jiavilions destined for the professors, and ^bout thirty dormi- 
tories, will he completed this year, and three other, with six 
hotels for boarding, and seventy other dormitories, will be com- 
pleted' the next year, and the whole be in readiness then to re- 


ceive those who are to occupy them. Bat means to bring these 
into place, and to set the machine into motion, must come from 
the legislature. An opposition, in the meantime, has been got 
up. That of our alma mater, William and Mary, is not of much 
weight. She must descend into the secondary rank of academies 
of preparation for the University. The serious enemies are the 
priests of the different religious sects, to whose spells on the hu- 
man mind its improvement is ominous. Their pulpits are now 
resounding with denunciations against the appointment of Doctor 
Cooper, whom they charge as a monotheist in opposition to their 
tritheism. Hostile as these sects are, in every other point, to one 
another, they unite in maintaining their mystical theogony against 
those who believe there is one God only. The Presbyterian 
clergy are loudest ; the most intolerant of all sects, the most ty- 
rannical and ambitious ; ready at the word of the lawgiver, if 
such a word could be now obtained, to put the torch to the pile, 
and to rekindle in this virgin hemisphere, the flames in which 
their oracle Calvin consumed the poor Servetus, because he could 
not find in his Euclid the proposition which has demonstrated 
that three are one and one is three, nor subscribe to that of Cal- 
vin, that magistrates have a right to exterminate all heretics to 
Calvinistic Creed. They pant to re-establish, by law, that holy 
inquisition, which they can now only infuse into public opinion. 
We have most unwisely committed to the hierophants of our par- 
ticular superstition, the direction of public opinion, that lord of 
the universe. We have given them stated and privileged days 
to collect and catechise us, opportunities of delivering their ora- 
cles to the people in mass, and of moulding their minds as wax 
in the hollow of their hands. But in despite of their fulmina- 
tions against endeavors to enlighten the general mind, to improve 
the reason of the people, and encourage them in the use of it, the 
liberality of this State will support this institution, and give fair 
play to the cultivation of reason. Can you ever find a more 
eligible occasion of visiting once more your native country, than 
that of accompanying Mr. Correa, and of seeing with him this 
beautiful and hopeful institution in ovo ? 


Although I had laid down as a law to myself, never to write 
talk, or even think of politics, to know nothing of public affairs^ 
and therefore had ceased to read newspapers, yet the Missouri 
question aroused and iiiled me Avith alarm. The old schism of 
federal and republican threatened nothing, because it existed in 
every State, and united them together by the fraternism of 
party. But the coincidence of a marked principle, moral and 
political, with a geographical line, once conceived, I feared would 
never more be obliterated from the mind ; that it would be re- 
curring on every occasion and renewing irritations, until it would 
kindle such mutual and mortal hatred, as to render separation 
preferable to eternal discord. I have been among the most san- 
guine in believing that our Union would be of long duration. I 
now doubt it mucM, and see the event at no great distance, 
and the direct consequence of this question ; not by the line 
which has been so confidently counted on ; the laws of nature 
control this ; but by the Potomac, Ohio and Missouri, or more 
probably, the Mississippi upwards to our northern boundary. My 
only comfort and confidence is, that I shall not live to see this ; 
and I envy not the present generation the glory of throwing 
away the fruits of their fathers' sacrifices of life and fortune, and 
of rendering desperate the experiment which was to decide ulti- 
mately whether man is capable of self-government ? This trea- 
son against human hope, will signalize their epoch in future his- 
tory, as the counterpart of the medal of their predecessors. 

You kindly inquire after my health. There is nothing in it 
immediately threatening, but swelled legs, which are kept down 
mechanically, by bandages from the toe to the knee. These I 
have worn for six months. But the tendency to turgidity may 
proceed from debility alone. I can walk the round of my gar- 
den ; not more. But I ride six or eight miles a day without 
fatigue. I shall . set out for Poplar Forest within three or four 
days ; a journey from which my physician augurs much good. 

I salute you with constant and affectionate friendship and re- 



MosTiCELLo, April 22, 1S20. 

I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as 
to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri 
question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long 
time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public 
affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a 
passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. 
But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, 
awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as 
the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. 
But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical 
line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, 
once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will 
never be obliterated ; and every new irritation will mark it deep- 
er and deeper. /I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not 
a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve 
us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way. The ces- 
sion of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle 
which would not cost me a second thought, if, in that way, a 
general emancipation and expatriation could be effected ; and 
gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as 
it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold 
him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-pres- 
ervation in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the 
passage of slaves from one State to another, would not make a 
slave of a single human being who would not be so without it, 
so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them indi- 
vidually happier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplish- 
ment of their emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater 
number of coadjutors. An abstinence too, from this act of pow- 
er, would remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of 
Congress to regulate the condition of the different descriptions 
of men composing a St^te. This certainly is the exclusive 
right of every State, which nothing in the constitution has taken 


from them and given to the General Government. Could Con- 
gress, for example, say, that the non-freemen of Connecticut 
shall be freemen, or that they shall not emigrate into any other 
State ? 

I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless 
sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self- 
government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away 
by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my 
only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they 
would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw 
away, against an abstract principle more likely to be eflected by 
union than by scission, they would pause befoje they would per- 
petrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of. treason against 
the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of 
the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect. 


Mo.NTicKLLO, May 14, 1820. 

Deak Sir, — Your favor of the 3d is received, and always with 
welcome. These texts of truth relieve me from the floating 
falsehoods of the public papers. I confess to yoQ I am not sorry 
for the non-ratification of the Spanish treaty. Our assent to it 
has proved our desire to be on friendly terms with Spain ; their 
dissent, the imbecility and malignity of their government towards 
us, have placed them in the wrong in the eyes of the world, and 
that is well ; but to us the province of Techas will be the richest 
State of our Union, without any exception. Its southern part 
will make more sugar than we can consume, and the Red river, 
on its north, is the most luxuriant country on earth. Florida, 
moreover, is ours. Every nation in Europe considers it such a 
right. We need not care for its occupation in time of peace, and, 
in war, the first cannon makes it ours without offence to anybody. 
The friendly advisements, too, of Russia and France, as well as 
the change of government in Spain, now ensured, require a fur- 


ther and respectful forbearance. While their request will rebut 
the plea of prescriptive possession, it will give us a right to iheir 
approbation when taken in the maturity of circumstances. I 
really think, too, that neither the state of our finances, the con- 
dition of our country, nor the public opinion, urges us to precipi- 
tation into war. The treaty has had the valuable effect of 
strengthening our title to the Techas, because the cession of the 
Floridas in exchange for Techas imports an acknowledgment 
of our right to it. This province moreover, the Floridas and 
possibly Cuba, will join us on the acknowledgment of their inde- 
pendence, a measure to which thoir new governiifient will proba- 
bly accede voluntarily. But why should I be saying ail this to 
you, whose mind all the circumstances of this affair have had 
possession for years ? I shall rejoice to see you here ; and were 
I to live to see you here finally, it would be a day of jubilee. 
But our days are all numbered, and mine are not many. God 
bless you and preserve you micchos anos 


MoNTiCELLO, May 16, 1820. 

Dear Sir, — We regretted much your absence at the late meet- 
ing of the Board of Visitors, but did not doubt it was occasioned 
by uncontrollable circumstances. As the matters which came be- 
fore us were of great importance to the institution, I think it a 
duty to inform you of them. 

You know the sanction of the legislature to our borrowing 
$60,000 on the pledge of our annuity of $15,000. The Litera- 
ry Board offered us |40,000 on that pledge, to be repaid at five 
instalments, commencing at the end of the third year from the 
date of the loan, and interest to be regularly paid in the mean- 
time. We endeavored to obtain permission to draw for only 
|15,000 at first, and for |3,000 monthly afterwards, to avoid the 
payment of dead interest. This they declined, as bound them- 
selves to keep the whole of their capital always in a course of 

VOL. VII. 11 


fructification. We then requested a postponement of the iistal 
ments to the fourth instead of the third year, with an additional 
loan of the further sum of $20,000, authorized by the law. To the 
postponement they acceded, and we are assured they will to the 
further loan. To explain to them the urgency of this additional 
year's postponement, a paper was laid before them of which I 
enclose you a copy, and on which you are now acting. Should 
the legislature not help us to the 093,600 there noted, the result 
will be that at the end of the next year all the buildings will be 
completed, (the library excepted,) and will then remain unoccu- 
pied five years longer, until our funds shall be free for the en- 
gagements of professors. Should they, on the other hand, give 
this aid, our funds will be free, at the beginning of the next year, 
and will enable us to take measures for procuring professors in 
the course of that summer, and to open the University. We 
were all of opinion that we ought to complete the buildings for 
the ten professors contemplated, as well as accommodations for 
the students, before opening the institution; for were we to stop 
at any point short of the full establishment, and open partially, 
as our funds would thenceforward be absorbed by the professors' 
salaries, we should never be able to advance a step further, nor 
to cover the whole field of science contemplated by the law, and 
made the object of our care and duty. We thought it better, 
therefore, to risk a delay of eight years for a perfect establish- 
ment, than to begin earlier and go on forever with a defective 
one ; and we suppose it impossible that either the legislature, or 
their constituents, should not consider an immediate commence- 
ment as worth the sum necessary to procure it. You will ob- 
serve that in the estimate enclosed, no account is taken of our 
subscription monies. They are, in fact, too uncertain in their 
collection to found any necessary contracts ; and we thought it 
better therefore to reserve them as a contingent fund, and a re- 
source to cover miscalculations and accidents. 

Another subject on this, as on former occasions, gave us em- 
barrassment. You may have heard of the hue and cry raised 
from the different pulpits on our appointment of Dr. Cooper, 


whom they charge with Unitarianism as boldly as if they knew 
the fact, and as presumptuously as if it were a crime, and one 
for which, like Servetus, he should be burned ; and perhaps yen 
may have seen the particular attack made on him in the Evan- 
gelical magazine. For myself I was not disposed to regard the 
denunciations of these satellites of religious inquisition ; but our 
colleagues, better judges of popular feeling, thought that they 
were not to be altogether neglected ; and that it might be better 
to relieve Dr. Cooper, ourselves and the institution from this 
crusade. I had received a letter from him expressing his uneasi- 
ness, not only for himself, but lest this persecution should become 
embarrassing to the visitors, and injurious to the institution ; with 
an offer to resign, if we had the same apprehensions. The Vis- 
itors, therefore, desired the committee of Superintendence to 
place him at freedom on this subject, and to arrange with him 
a suitable indemnification. I wrote accordingly in answer to 
his, and a meeting of trustees of the college at Columbia hap- 
pening to take place soon after his receipt of my letter, they 
resolved unanimously that it should be proposed to, and urged on 
then- legislature, to establish a professorship of Geology and Min- 
eralogy, or a professorship of law, with a salary of f 1,000 a year 
to be given him, in addition to that of chemistry, which is 
$2,000 a year, and to purchase his collection of minerals ; and 
they have no doubt of the legislature's compliance. On the sub- 
ject of indemnification, he is contented with the balance of the 
f 1,500 we had before agreed to give him, and which he says 
will not more than cover his actual losses of time and expense ; 
he adds, " it is right I should acknowledge the liberality of your 
board with thanks. I regret the storm that has been raised on 
my account ; for it has separated me from many fond hopes and 
wishes. Whatever my religious creed may be, and perhaps I do 
not exactly know it myself, it is pleasure to reflect that my con- 
duct has not brought, and is not likely to bring, discredit to my 
friends. Wherever I have been, it has been my good fortune to 
meet with, or to make ardent and affectionate friends. I feci 
persuaded I should have met with the same lot in Yirginia had it 


been my chance to have settled there, as I had hoped and ex- 
pected, for I think my course of conduct is sufficiently habitual 
to count on its effects." 

I do sincerely lament that untoward circumstances have brought 
on us the irreparable loss of this professor, whom I have looked 
to as the corner-stone of our edifice. I know no one who could 
have aided us so much in forming the future regulations for our 
infant institution ; and although we may perhaps obtain from 
Europe equivalents in science, they can never replace the ad- 
vantages of his experience, his knowledge of the character, habits 
and manners of our country, his identification with its senti- 
ments and principles, and high reputation he has obtained in it 

In the hope of meeting you at our fall visitation, and that you 
will do me the favor of making this your head quarters, and of 
coming the day before, at least, that we may prepare our busi- 
ness at ease, I tender you the assurance of my great esteem and 


MoNTiOELLO, August 4, 182C. 

Dear Sir, — I owe you a letter for your favor of June the 
29th, which was received in due time ; and there being no sub- 
ject of the day, of particular interest, I will make this a supple- 
ment to mine of April the 13th. My aim in that was, to justify 
the character of Jesus against the fictions of his pseudo-followers, 
which have exposed him to the inference of being an impostor. 
For if we could believe that he really countenanced the follies, 
the falsehoods, and the charlatanisms which his biographers fa- 
ther on him, and admit the misconstructions, interpolations, and 
theorizations of the fathers of the early, and fanatics of the latter 
ages, the conclusion would be irresistible by every sound mind, 
that he was an impostor. I give no credit to their falsifications 
of his actions and doctrines, and to rescue his character, the pos- 
ulate in my letter asked only what is granted in reading every 


other historian. When Livy and Siculus, for example, tell us 
things which coincide with our experience of the order of na- 
ture, we credit them on their word, and place their narrations 
among the records of credible history. But when they tell us 
of calves speaking, of statues sweating blood, and other things 
against the course of nature, we reject these as fables not belong- 
ing to history. In like manner, when an historian, speaking of 
a character well known and established on satisfactory testimony, 
imputes to it things incompatible with that character, we reject 
them without hesitation, and assent to that only of which we 
have better evidence. Had Plutarch informed us that Cassar and 
Cicero passed their whole lives in religious exercises, and absti- 
nence from the affairs of the world, we should reject what was 
so inconsistent with their established characters, still crediting 
what he relates in conformity with our ideas of them. So again, 
the superlative wisdom of Socrates is testified by all antiquity, 
and placed on ground not to be questioned. When, therefore, 
Plato puts into his mouth such paralogisms, such quibbles on 
words, and sophisms as a school boy would be ashamed of, we 
conclude they were the whimsies of Plato's own foggy brain, and 
acquit Socrates of puerilities so unlike his character. (Speaking 
of Plato, I will add, that no writer, ancient or modern, has be- 
wildered the world with more ignus fatui, than this renowned 
philosopher, in Ethics, in Politics, and Physics. In the latter, to 
specify a single example, compare his views of the animal econ- 
omy, in his Timaeus, with those of Mrs. Bryan in her Conversa- 
tions on Chemistry, and weigh the science of the canonized phi- 
losopher against the good sense of the unassuming lady. But 
Plato's visions have furnished a basis for endless systems of mys- 
tical theology, and he is therefore all but adopted as a Christian 
saint. It is surely time for men to think for themselves, and to 
throw off the authority of names so artificially magnified. But 
to return from this parenthesis.) I say, that this free exercise of 
reason is all } ask for the vindication of the character of Jesus. 
We find in the writings of his biographers matter of two distinct 
descriptions. First, a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things 


impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications. Intep^ 
mixed with these, again, are subUme ideas of the Supreme Being, 
aphorisms, and precepts of the purest morahty and benevolence, 
sanctioned by a life of humility, innocence and simplicity of 
manners, neglect of riches, absence of worldly ambition and 
honors, with an eloquence and persuasiveness which have not 
been surpassed. These could not be inventions of the grovelling 
authors who relate them. They are far beyond the powers of 
their feeble minds. They show that there was a character, the 
subject of their history, whose splendid conceptions were above 
all suspicion of being interpolations from their hands. Can we 
be at a loss in separating such materials, and ascribing each to 
its genuine author ? The difference is obvious to the eye and to 
the understanding, and we may read as we ru;i to each his part ; 
and I will venture to affirm, that he who, as I have done, will 
undertake to winnow this grain from the chaff, will find it 
not to require a moment's consideration. The parts fall asunder 
of themselves, as would those of an image of metal and clay. 

There are, I acknowledge, passages not free from objection, 
which we may, with probability, ascribe to Jesus himself; but 
claiming indulgence from the circumstances under which he 
acted. His object was the reformation of some articles in the 
religion of the Jews, as taught by Moses. That sect had pre- 
sented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific charac- 
ter, cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust. Jesus, taking for 
his type the best qualities of the human head and heart, wisdom, 
justice, goodness, and adding to them power, ascribed all of 
these, but in infinite perfection, to the Supreme Being, and 
formed him really worthy of their adoration. Moses had either 
not believed in a future state of existence, or had not thought it 
essential to be explicitly taught to his people. Jesus inculcated 
that doctrine with emphasis and precision. Moses had bound 
the Jews to many idle ceremonies, mummeries, and observances, 
of no effect towards producing the social utilities which consti- 
tute the essence of virtue ; Jesus exposed their futility and insig- 
nificance. The one instilled into his people the most anti-social 


spi-iit toward other nations ; the other preached philanthroi)y and 
universal charity and benevolence. The office of reformer of 
the superstitions of a nation, is ever dangerous. Jesus had to 
walk on the perilous confines of reason and religion ; and a step 
to right or left might place him within the grasp of the priests 
of the superstition, a blood-thirsty race, as cruel and remorse- 
less as the being whom they represented as the family God of 
Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. 
They were constantly laying snares, too, to entangle him in the 
web of the law. He was justifiable, therefore, in avoiding 
these by evasions, by sophisms, by misconstructions and misap- 
plications of scraps of the prophets, and in defending himself 
with these their own weapons, as sufficient, ad homines, at least. 
That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the 
son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the 
writings of men more learned than myself in that lore. But that 
he might conscientiously believe himself inspired from above, 
is very possible. The whole religion of the Jew, inculcated on 
him from his infancy, was founded in the belief of divine mspir- 
ation. The fumes of the most disorded imaginations were re- 
corded in then- religious code, as special communications of the 
Deity ; and as it could not but happen that, in the com-se of ages, 
events would now and then turn up to which some of these 
vague rhapsodies might be accommodated by the aid of allegor- 
ies, figures, types, and other tricks upon words, they have not 
only preserved their credit with the Jews of all subsequent times, 
but are the foundation of much of the religions of those who 
have schismatised from them. Elevated by the enthusiasm of 
a warm and pure heart, conscious of the high strains of an elo- 
quence which had not been taught him, he might readily mis- 
take the coruscations of his own fine genius for inspirations of 
an higher order. This belief carried, therefore, no more personal 
imputation, than the belief of Socrates, that himself was under 
the care and admonitions of a guardian Daemon. And how 
many of our wisest men still believe in the reaUty of these in- 
spirations, while ^rfectly sane on all other subjects. Excusing, 


therefore, on these considerations, those passages in the gos- 
pels which seem to bear marks of weakness in Jesus, ascribing 
to him what alone is consistent with the great and pure charac- 
ter of which the same writings furnish proofs, and to their proper 
authors their own trivialities and imbecilities, I think myself 
authorized to conclude the purity and distinction of his charac- 
ter, in opposition to the impostures which those authors would 
fix upon him ; and that the postulate of my former letter is no 
more than is granted in all other historical works. 

Mr. Correa is here, on his farewell visit to us. He has been 
much pleased with the plan and progress of our University, and 
has given some valuable hints to its botanical branch. He goes 
to do, I hope, much good in hi» new country ; the public in- 
struction there, as I understand, being within the department 
destined for him. He is not without dissatisfaction, and reason- 
able dissatisfaction too, with the piracies of Baltimore ; but his 
justice and friendly dispositions will, I am sure, distinguish be- 
tween the iniquities of a few plunderers, and the sound principles 
of our country at large, and of our government especially. From 
many conversations with him, I hope he sees, and will promote in 
his new situation, the advantages of a cordial fraternization among 
all the American nations, and the importance of their coalesc- 
ing in an American system of policy, totally independent of 
and unconnected with that of Europe. The day is not distant, 
when we may formally require a meridian of partition through 
the ocean which separates the two hemispheres, on the hither 
side of which no European gun shall ever be heard, nor an 
American on the other ; and when, during the rage of the eternal 
wars of Europe, the lion and the lamb, within our regions, 
shall lie down together in peace. The excess of population in 
Europe, and want of room, render war, in their opinion, neces- 
sary to keep down that excess of numbers. Here, room is abun- 
dant, population scanty, and peace the necessary means for pro- 
ducing men, to whom the redundant soil is offering the means 
of life and happiness. The principles of society there and here, 
thenj are radically different, and I hope no American patriot will 


ever lose sight of the essential policy of interdicting in the seas 
and territories of both Americas, the ferocious and sanguinary 
contests of Europe. I wish to see this coalition begun,. I am 
earnest for an agreement with the maritime powers of Europe, 
assigning them the task of keeping down the piracies of their 
seas and the cannibalisms of the African coasts, and to us, the 
suppression of the same enormities within our seas ; and for this 
purpose, I should rejoice to see the fleets of Brazil and the United 
States riding together as brethren of the same family, and pur- 
suing the same object. And indeed it would be of happy augury 
to begin at once this concert of action here, on the invitation of 
either to the other government, while the way might be ^jrepar- 
ing for withdrawing our cruisers from Europe, and preventing 
naval collisions there which daily endanger our peace. 

** ** *** **# 
Accept assurances of the sincerity of my friendship and re- 
spect for you. 


MoNTiCELLO, August 14, 1820. 

Deak Sib, — Yours of the 24th ult. was received in due time, 
and I shall rejoice indeed if Mr. Elliot and Mr. Nulty are joined 
to you in the institution at Columbia, which now becomes of 
immediate interest to me. Mr. Stack has given notice to his 
first class that he shall dismiss them on the 10th of the next 
month, and his mathematical assistant also at the same time, 
being determined to take only small boys in future. My grand- 
son, Eppes, is of the first class ; and I have proposed to his fa- 
ther to send him to Columbia, rather than anywhere northwardly. 
I am obliged, therefore, to ask of you by what day he ought to 
be there, so as to be at the commencement of what they call a 
session, and to be so good as to do this by the first mail, as I 
shall set out to Bedford within about a fortnight. He is so far ad- 
vanced in Greek and Latin that he will be able to pursue them by 
himself hereafter ; and being between eighteen and nineteen 


years of age he has no time to lose. I propose that he shall com- 
mence immediately with the mathematics and natural philosophy 
to be followed by astronomy, chemistry, mineralogy, botany, 
natural history. It would be time lost for him to attend profess- 
ors of ethics, metaphysics, logic, &c. The first of these may 
be as well acquired in the closet as from living lectures ; and 
supposing the two last to mean the science of mind, the simple 
reading of Locke, Tracy, and Stewart, will give him as much 
in that branch as is real science. A relation of his (Mr. Ba- 
ker) and classmate will go with him. 

I hope and believe you are mistaken in supposing the reign of 
fanaticism to be on the advance. I think it certainly declining. 
It was first excited artificially by the sovereigns of Europe as an 
engine of opposition to Bonaparte and to France. It rose to a 
great height there, and became indeed a powerful engine of 
loyalism, and of support to their governments. But that loyal- 
ism is giving way to very different dispositions, and its prompter 
fanaticism, is vanishing with it. In the meantime it had been 
wafted across the Atlantic, and chiefly from England, with their 
other fashions, but it is here also on the wane. The ambitious sect 
of Presbyterians indeed, the Loyalists of our country, spare 
no pains to keep it up. But their views of ascendency over 
all other sects in the United States seem to excite alarm in all, 
and to unite them as against a common and threatening enemy. 
And although the Unitarianism they impute to you is heterodoxy 
with all of them, I suspect the other sects will admit it to their 
alliance in order to strengthen the phalanx of opposition against 
the enterprises of their more aspiring antagonists. Although 
spiritualism is most prevalent with all these sects, yet with none 
of them, I presume, is materialism declared heretical. Mr. Locke, 
on whose authority they often plume themselves, openly main- 
tained the materialism of the soul ; and charged with blasphemy 
those who denied that it was in the power of an Almighty Crea- 
tor to endow with the faculty of thought any composition of 
matter he might think fit. The fathers of the church of the 
three first centuries generally, if not universally, were material- 


ists, extending it even to the Creator himself ; nor indeed do I 
know exactly * in what age of the christian church the heresy 
of spiritualism was introduced. Huet, in his commentai'ies on 
Origen,t says, " Deus igitur, cui anima similis est, juxta Origenem, 
reapse corporalis est, sed graviorum tantum ratione corporum in- 
corporeus."J St. Macari,§ as speaking of angels says, " quam 
vis enim suhtilia sint, tamen in substantia, forma, et figura, secun- 
dum tenuitatem naturae eorum corpora sunt tenuia, quemadmodum 
et hoc corpus in substantia sua crassum et solidum est."|| St. Justin 

martyr says expressly "to 6eiov <fOfiev eivai aauuarov, ovK Se eariv aauaarov." 

Tertullian's words are, " quid euim Deus nisi corpus ?" and 
again, " quis autem negabit Deuni esse corpus ? et si deus spiritus, 
spiritus etiam corpus est sui generis, in sua effigie," and that the 
soul is matter he adduces the following tangible proof : "in ipso 
ultimo voluptatis aestu, quo genitale vii'us expellitur, nonne ali- 
quid de anima sentimus exire ?"![ The holy father thus assert- 
ing, and, as it would seem, from his own feelings, that the sperm 
infused into the female matrix deposits there the matter and 
germ of both soul and body, conjunctim, of the new foetus. Al- 
though I do not pretend to be familiar with these fathers, and 
give the preceding quotations at second hand, yet I learn from 
authors whom I respect, that not only those I have named, but 
St. Augustin,** St. Basil, Lactantius, Tatian, Athenagoras, and 
others, concurred in ■ the materiality of the soul. Our modern 
doctors would hardly ventm-e or wish to condemn theii' fathers as 
heretics, the main pillars of theii- fabric resting on their shoulders. 

In the consultations of the visitors of the university on the sub- 
ject of releasing you from yom- engagement with us, although 
one or two members seemed alarmed at this cry of " fire" from 
the Presbyterian pulpits, yet the real ground of our decision was 
that our funds were in fact hypotheticated for five or six years 
to redeem the loan we had reluctantly made ; and although we 

* I believe by Athenasius and the council of !Kicea. 

f Ocellua de d'Argens, p. 9t. J Enfield, vi. 3. § lb. 105. 

i Timseus, l"?. Enfield, vi. 8. T Hist, des Saints, 2 c. 4 p. 212, 215. 

** Ocellus, 90. 


hoped and trusted that the ensuing legislature would remit the 
debt and liberate our funds, yet it was not just, on this possi- 
bility, to stand in the way of your looking out for a more certain 
provision. The completing all our buildings for professors and 
students by the autumn of the ensuing year, is now secured by 
sufficient contracts, and our confidence is most strong that nei- 
ther the State nor their legislature will bear to see those buildings 
shut up for five or six years, when they have the money in hand, 
■ind actually appropriated to the object of education, which would 
open their doors at once for the reception of their sons, now 
waiting and calling aloud for that institution. The legislature 
meets on the 1st Monday of December, and before Christmas we 
shall know what are their intentions. If such as we expect, we 
shall then immediately take measures to engage our professors 
and bring them into place the ensuing autumn or early winter. 
My hope is that you will be able and willing to keep yourself 
uncommitted, to take your place among them about that time ; 
and I can assure you there is not a voice among us which will 
not be cordially given for it. I think, too, I may add, that if the 
Presbyterian opposition should not die by that time, it will be 
directed at once against the whole institution, and not amuse it- 
self with nibbling at a single object. It did that only because 
there was no other, and they might think it politic to mask their 
designs on the body of the fortress, under the of a bat- 
tery against a single bastion. I will not despair then of the 
avail of your services in an establishment which I contemplate 
as the future bulwark of the human mind in this hemisphere. 
God bless you and preserve you multos annos. - 


MoNTicELLo, August 15, 1820. 

I am a great defaulter, my dear Sir, jn our correspondence, 
but prostrate health rarely permits me to write; and when it 
does, matters of business imperiously press their claims. I am 


getting tetter however, slowly, swelled legs being now the only 
serious symptom, and these, I believe, proceed from extreme de- 
bility. I can walk but little ; but I ride six or eight miles a day 
without fatigue ; and within a few days, I shall endeavor to visit 
my other home, after a twelvemonth's absence from it. Our 
University, four miles distant, gives me frequent exercise, and 
the oftener, as I direct its architecture. Its plan is unique, and 
it is becoming an object of curiosity for the traveller. I have 
lately had an opportunity of reading a critique on this institution 
in yom" North American Rteview of January last, having been 
not without anxiety to see what that able work would say of 
us ; and I was relieved on finding in it much coincidence of 
opinion, and even where criticisms were indulged, I found they 
would have been obviated had the developments of our plan 
been fuller. But these were restrained by the character of the 
paper reviewed, being merely a report of outlines, not a detailed 
treatise, and addressed to a legislative body, not to a learned 
academy. For example, as an inducement to introduce the 
Anglo-Saxon into our plan, it was said that it would reward 
amply the few weeks of attention which alone would be requisite 
for its attainment ; leaving both term and degree under an inde- 
finite expression, because I know that not much time is neces- 
sary to attain it to an useful degree, sufficient to give such in- 
struction in the etymologies of our language as may satisfy or- 
dinai-y students, while more time would be requisite for those 
who should propose to attain a critical knowledge of it. In a 
letter which I had occasion to write to Mi-. Crofts, who sent you, 
I believe, as well as myself, a copy of his ti-eatise on the English 
and German languages, as preliminary to an etymological dic- 
tionary he meditated, I went into explanations with him of an 
easy process for simplifying the study of the Anglo-Saxon, and 
lessening the terrors and difficulties presented by its rude alpha- 
bet, and unformed orthography. But this is a subject beyond 
the bounds of a letter, as it was beyond the bounds of a report 
to the legislatiu-e. Mi. Crofts died, I believe, before any pro- 
gress was made in the work he had projected. 


The reviewer expresses doubt, rather than decision, on oiu 
placing military and naval architecture in the department of pure 
mathematics. Military architecture embraces fortification and 
fieldworks, which, with their bastions, curtains, hornworks, re- 
doubts, (fcc, are based on a technical combination of lines and 
angles. These are adapted to offence and defence, with and 
against the effects of bombs, balls, escalades, &c. But lines and 
angles make the sum of elementary geometry, a branch of pure 
mathematics ; and the direction of the bombs, balls, and other 
projectiles, the necessary appendages of military works, although 
no part of their architecture, belong to the conic sections, a 
branch of transcendental geometry. Diderot and D'Alembert, 
therefore, in their Arbor scientice, have placed military archi- 
tecture in the department of elementary geometry. Naval archi- 
tecture teaches the best form and construction of vessels; for 
which best form it has recom'se to the question of the solid of 
least resistance ; a problem of transcendental geometry. And its 
appurtenant projectiles belong to the same branch, as in the pre- 
ceding case. It is true, that so far as respects the action of the 
water on the rudder and oars, and of the wind on the sails, it 
may be placed in the department of mechanics, as Diderot and 
D'Alembert have done ; but belonging quite as much to geom- 
etry,, and allied in its military character to military architecture, 
it simj)lified our plan to place both under the same head. These 
views are so obvious, that I am sure they would have required 
but a second thought, to reconcile the reviewer to their location 
under the head of pure mathematics. For this word location, 
see Bailey, Johnson, Sheridan, Walker, «fec. But if dictionaries 
are to be the arbiters of language, in which of them shall we find 
neologism. No matter. It is a good word, well sounding, ob- 
vious, and expresses an idea, which would otherwise require cir- 
cumlocution. The reviewer was justifiable, therefore, in using 
it ; although he noted at the same time, as unauthoritative, cen- 
trality, grade, sparse ; all which have been long used in common 
speech and writing. I am a friend to neology. It is the only 
way to give to a language copiousness and euphony. Without 


it we should still be held to the vocabulary of Alfred or of Ul- 
philas ; and held to their state of science also : for I am sure they 
had no words which could have conveyed the ideas of oxygen, 
cotyledons, zoophytes, magnetism, electricity, hyaline, and thou- 
sands of others expressing ideas not then existing, nor of possible 
communication in the state of their language. What a language 
has the French become since the date of their revolution, by the 
free introduction of new words ! The most copious and eloquent 
in the living world ; and equal to the Greek, had not that been 
regularly modifiable almost ad infinitum. Theii' rule was, that 
whenever their language furnished or adopted a root, all its 
branches, in every part of speech, were legitimated by giving 
them their appropriate terminations. ASeKtfo?, adeltfrj, aSeXq^tdwi-, 

«(5fi(j/0T);ff, o(5fAgri.5if , adelrfidug, aSsi-cpixog, aSeXqji'Qai, aSf).(ptyoi;. And 

this should be the law of every language. Thus, having adopted 
the ad]ective fraternal, it is a root which should legitimate fra- 
ternity, fraternation, fraternisation, fraternism, to fraternate, 
fraternise, fraternally. And give the word neologism to our 
language, as a root, and it should give us its fellow substantives, 
neology, neologist, neologisation ; its adjectives, neologous, neolo- 
gical, neologistical ; its verb, neologise ; and adverb, neologically. 
Dictionaries are but the depositories of words already legitimated 
by usage. Society is the workshop in which new ones are 
elaborated. When an individual uses a new word, if ill formed, 
it is rejected in society ; if well formed, adopted, and after due 
time, laid up in the depository of dictionaries. And if, in this 
process of sound neologisation, our trans-Atlantic brethren shall 
not choose to accompany us, we may furnish, after the lonians, a 
second example of a colonial dialect improving on its primitive. 
But enough of criticism : let me turn to your puzzling letter of 
May the 12th, on matter, spirit, motion, &c. Its crowd of scep- 
ticisms kept mo. from sleep. I read it, and laid it down ; read it, 
and laid it down, again and again ; and to give rest to my mind, 
I was obliged to recur ultimately to my habitual anodyne, " I feel, 
therefore I exist." I feel bodies which are not myself: there are 
other existences then. I call them matter. I feel them chang- 


ing place. This gives me motion. Where there is an absence 
of matter, I call it void, or nothing, or immaterial space. On the 
basis of sensation, of matter and motion, we may erect the fabric 
of all the certainties we can have or need. I can conceive thought 
to be an action of a particular organization of matter, formed for 
that purpose by its creator, as well as that attraction is an action 
of matter, or magnetism, of loadstone. When he who denies to 
the Creator the power of endowing matter with the mode of ac- 
tion called thinking, shall show how he could endow the sun 
with the mode of action called attraction, which reins the planets 
in the track of their orbits, or how an absence of matter can have 
a will, and by that will put matter into motion, then the Materi- 
alist may be lawfully required to explain the process by which 
matter exercises the faculty of thinking. When once we quit 
the basis of sensation, all is in the wind. To talk of immaterial 
existences, is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, 
angels, God, are immaterial, is to say, they are nothings, or that 
there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise : 
but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by the 
Lockes, the Tracys, and the Stewarts. At what age* of the 
Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, or masked athe- 
ism, crept in, I do not exactly know. But a heresy it certainly 
is. Jesus taught nothing of it. He told us, indeed, that " God 
is a spirit," but he has not defined what a spirit is, nor said that 
it is not matter. And the ancient fathers generally, of the three 
first centuries, held it to be matter, light and thin indeed, an 
etherial gas ; but still matter. Origen says, " Deus se ipse cor- 
poralis est ; sed graviorum tantum corporum ratione, incorporeus." 
TertuUian, " quid enim deus nisi corpus ?" And again, " quis 
negabit deum esse corpus ? Etsi deus spiritus, spiritus etiam 
corpus est, sui generis in sua eifigie." St. Justin Martyr, " ro 

•i^EiOv cpufisy Biviti ugwfxuiop' 6« ^OTt ugbi^ajov — enetdrj ds rojutj xouTS^adai 
ino Tivog ta xg(xTetg&ai, TtfiiaizSQOi' sqi dtu raro k«A8|U6»' uvtop agtM/Autoy." 

And St. Macarius, speaking of angels, says, " quamvis enim sub- 

tilia sint, tamen in substantia, forma et figurS, secundum tenui- 

* That of Athanasius and the Coianoil of Nicsea, anno. 324. 


tatem naturae eorum, corpora sunt tenuia." And St. Austin, 
St. Basil, Lactantius, Tatian, Athenagoras and others, with whose 
writings I pretend not a familiarity, are said by those who are 
better acquainted with them, to deliver the same doctrine, (En- 
field X. 3, 1.) Tiurn to your Ocellus d'Argens, 97, 105, and to 
his Timaeus 17, for these quotations. In England, these Imma- 
terialists might have been burnt until the 29 Car. 2, when the 
writ de hcuretico comhurendo was abolished ; and here imtil the 
Revolution, that statute not having extended to us. All heresies 
being now done away with us, these schismatists are merely 
atheists, differing from the material atheist only in their belief, 
that " nothing made something," and from the material deist, 
who believes that matter alone can operate on matter. 

Rejecting all organs of information, therefore, but my senses, 
I rid myself of the pyrrhonisms with which an indulgence in spe- 
culations hyperphysical and antiphysical, so uselessly occupy and 
disquiet the mind. A single sense may indeed be sometimes 
deceived, but rarely ; and never all our senses together, with their 
faculty of reasoning. They evidence realities, and there are 
enough of these for all the purposes of life, without plunging into 
the fathomless abyss of dreams and phantasms. I am satisfied, 
and sufiiciently occupied with the things which are, without tor- 
menting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, 
but of which I have no evidence. I am sure that I reallj'' know 
many, many things, and none more surely than that I love you 
with all my heart, and pray for the continuance of youi- life until 
you shall be tired of it yourself. 


MoNTiOELLO, September 28, 1820. 

I thank you. Sir, for the copy of your Republican which you 
have been so kind as to send me, and I should have acknowl- 
edged it sooner but that I am just returned home after a long 
absence. I have not yet had time to read it seriously, but in 

VOL. VII. 12 


looking over it cursorily I see much in it to approve, and shall be 
glad if it shall lead our youth to the practice of thinking on such 
subjects and for themselves. That it will have this tendency 
may be expected, and for that reason I feel an urgency to note 
what I deem an error in it, the more requiring notice as your 
opinion is strengthened by that of many others. You seem, in 
pages 84 and 148, to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters 
of all constitutional questions ; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, 
and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligar- 
chy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. 
They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, 
and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is " boni judicis 
est ampliare jurisdictionem," and their power the more danger- 
ous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other 
functionaries are, to the elective control. The constitution has 
erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands 
confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members 
would become despots. It has more wisely made all the depart- 
ments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves. If the leg- 
islature fails to pass laws for a census, for paying the judges and 
other officers of government, for establishing a militia, for nat- 
uralization as prescribed by the constitution, or if they fail to 
meet in congress, the judges cannot issue their mandamus to 
them ; if the President fails to supply the place of a judge, to 
appoint other civil or military officers, to issue requisite commis- 
sions, the judges cannot force him. They can issue their man- 
damus or distringas to no executive or legislative officer to en- 
force the fulfflment of their official duties, any more than the 
president or legislature may issue orders to the judges or their 
officers. Betrayed by English example, and unaware, as it should 
seem, of the control of our constitution in this particular, they 
have at times overstepped their limit by undertaking to command 
executive officers in the discharge of their executive duties ; but 
the constitution, m keeping three departments distinct and inde- 
pendent, restrains the authority of the judges to judiciary organs, 
as it does the executive and legislative to executive and legisla- 


tive organs. The judges certainly have more frequent occasion 
to act on constitutional questions, because the laws of meum and 
tuum and of criminal action, forming the great mass of the sys- 
tem of law, constitute their particular department. When the 
legislative or executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they 
are responsible to the people in their elective capacity. The ex- 
emption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I 
Icnow no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society 
but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened 
enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, 
the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their dis- 
cretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of 
constitutional power. Pardon me, Sir, for this difterence of 
opinion. My personal interest in such questions is entirely ex- 
tinct, but not my wishes for the longest possible continuance of 
our government on its pure principles ; if the three powers main- 
tain their mutual independence on each other it may last long, 
but not so if either can assume the authorities of the other. I ask 
your candid re-consideration of this subject, and am sufficiently 
3ure you will form a candid conclusion. Accept the assurance 
of my great respect. 


MoNTicELLO, September 80, 1820. 

Deak Sm, — An absence of some time from home has occasioned 
me to be thus late in acknowledging the receipt of your favor 
of the 6th, and I see in it with pleasure evidences of your con- 
tinued health and application to business. It is now, I believe, 
about twenty years since I had the pleasure of seeing you, and 
we are apt, in such cases, to lose sight of time, and to conceive 
that our friends remain stationary at the same point of health and 
vigor as when we last saw them. So I perceive by your letter 
you think with respect to myself, but twenty years added to 
fifty-seven make quite a different man. To threescore and seven- 
teen add two years of prostrate health, and you have the old, 


infirm, and nerveless body I now am, unable to write but with 
pain, and unwilling to think without necessity. In this state 1 
leave the world and its affairs to the young and energetic, and 
resign myself to their care, of whom I have endeavored to take 
care when young. I read but one newspaper and that of my 
own State, and more for its advertisements than its news. I 
have not read a speech in Congress for some years. I have 
heard, indeed, of the questions of the tariff and Missouri, and 
formed primi facie opinions on them, but without investigation. 
As to the tariff, I should say put down all banks, admit none but 
a metallic circulation, that will take its proper level with the hke 
circulation in other countries, and then our manufacturers may 
work in fair competition with those of other countries, and the 
import duties which the government may lay for the purposes of 
revenue will so far place them above equal competition. The 
Missouri question is a mere party trick. The leaders of federal- 
ism, defeated in their schemes of obtaining power by rallying 
partisans to the principle of monarchism, a principle of personal 
not of local division, have changed their tack, and thrown out 
another barrel to the whale. They are taking advantage of the 
virtuous feelings of the people to effect a division of parties by a 
geographical line ; they expect that this will ensure them, on 
local principles, the majority they could never obtain on princi- 
ples of federalism ; but they are still putting their shoulder to the 
wrong wheel ; they are wasting Jeremiads on the miseries of 
slavery, as if we were advocates for it. Sincerity in their declamar 
tions should direct their efforts to the true point of difficulty, and 
unite their counsels with ours in devising some reasonable and 
practicable plan of getting rid of it. Some of these leaders, if 
they could attain the power, their ambition would rather use it 
to keep the Union together, but others have ever had in view its 
separation. If they push it to that, they will find the line of 
separation very different from their 36° of latitude, and as man- 
ufacturing and navigating States, they will have quarrelled with 
their bread and butter, and I fear not that after a little trial they 
will think better of it, and return to the embraces of their nat- 


oral and best friends. But this scheme of party I leave to those 
who are to live under its consequences. We who have gone be- 
fore have performed an honest duty, by putting in the power of 
our successors a state of happiness which no nation ever before 
had within their choice. If that choice is to throw it away, the 
dead will have neither the power nor the right to control them. 
I must hope, nevertheless, that the mass of our honest and well- 
meaning brethren of the other States, will discover the use which 
designing leaders are making of their best feelings, and will see 
the precipice to which they are lead, before they take the fatal 
leap. God grant it, and to you health and happiness. 


MoNTiCELLO, October 20, 1820. 

Deak Sir, — In yom: favor of May 3d, which I have now to 
acknowldge, you so kindly proffered your attentions to any little 
matters I might have on that side of the water, that I take the 
liberty of availing myself of this proof of your goodness so far as 
to request you to put the enclosed catalogue in the hands of some 
hottest bookseller of London, who will procure and forward the 
books to me, with care and good faith. They should be packed 
in a cheap trunk, and not put on ship-board until April, as they 
would be liable to damage on a winter passage. I ask an honest 
correspondent in that line, because, when we begin to import for 
the library of our Universary, we shall need one worthy of entire 

I send this letter open to my correspondent in Richmond, 
Captain Bernard Peyton, with a request that he will put into it a 
bill of exchange on London of £40 sterling, which of course, 
therefore, I cannot describe to you by naming drawer and drawee. 
He will also forward, by other convej^ance, the duplicate and 
triplicate as usual. This sum would more than cover the cost 
of the books written for, according to their prices stated in print- 
ed catalogues ; but as books have risen with other things in price. 


I have enlarged the printed amount by about 15 per cent, to 
cover any rise. Still, should it be insufficient, the bookseller is 
requested to dock the catalogue to the amount of the remittance. 
I have no news to give you ; for I have none but from the 
newspapers, and believing little of that myself, it would be an 
unworthy present to my friends. But the important news 
hes now on your side of the Atlantic. England, in throes 
from a trifle, as it would seem, but that trifle the symptom of 
an iiTemediable disease proceeding from a long course of ex- 
haustion by efforts and burthens beyond her natural strength ; 
France agonizing between royalists and constitutionalists ; the 
other States of Europe pressing on to revolution and the rights 
of man, and the colossal powers of Russia and Austria mar- 
shalled against them. These are more than specks of hurri- 
cane in the horizon of the world. You, who are young, may 
live to see its issue ; the beginning only is for my time. Nor is 
our side of the water entirely untroubled, the boisterous sea of 
liberty is never without a wave. A hideous evil, the magnitude 
of which is seen, and at a distance only, by the one party, and 
more sorely felt and sincerely deplored by the other, from the 
difiiculty of the cure, divides us at this moment too angrily. 
The attempt by one party to prohibit willing States from sharing 
the evil, is thought by the other to render desperate, by accumu- 
lation, the hope of its final eradication. If a little time, however, 
is given to both parties to cool, and to dispel their visionary 
fears, they will see that concurring in sentiment as to the evil, 
moral and political, the duty and interest of both is to concur also 
in divining a practicable process of cure. Should time not be 
given, and the schism be pushed to separation, it will be for a 
short term only ; two or three years trial will bring them bac^, 
like quarrelling lovers to renewed embraces, and increased affec- 
tions. The experiment of separation would soon prove to both 
that they had mutually miscalculated their best interests. And 
even were the parties in Congress to secede in a passion, the so- 
berer people would call a convention and cement again the sev- 
erance attempted by the insanity of their functionaries. With 


this consoling view, my greatest grief -would be for the fatal ef- 
fect of such an event on the hopes and happiness of the world. 
We exist, and are quoted, as standing proofs that a government, 
so modelled as to rest continually on the will of the whole socie- 
ty, is a practicable government. Were we to break to pieces, 
it would damp the hopes and the efforts of the good, and give 
triumph to those of the bad through the whole enslaved world. 
As members, therefore, of the universal society of mankind, and 
standing in high and responsible relation with them, it is our 
sacred duty to suppress passion among ourselves, and not to blast 
the confidence we have inspired of proof that a government of 
reason is better than one of force. This letter is not of facts but 
of opinions, as you will observe ; and although the converse is 
generally the most acceptable, I do not know that, in your situa- 
tion, the opinions of your countrymen may not be as desirable to 
be known to you as facts. They constitute, indeed, moral facts, 
as important as physical ones to the attention of the public func- 
tionary. Wishing you a long career to the services you may 
render your country, and that it may be a career of happiness 
and prosperity to yourself, I salute you with affectionate attach- 
ment and respect. 


MoNTiCELLo, October 24, 1820. 

Your kind letter, dear Sir, of October 12th, was handed to me 
by Dr. Cooper, and was the first correction of an erroneous be- 
lief that you had long since left our shores. Such had been Colo- 
nel Randolph's opinion, and his had governed mine. I received 
your adieu with feelings of sincere regret at the loss we were to 
sustain, and particularly of those friendly visits by which you 
had made me so happy. I shall feel, too, the want of your 
counsel and approbation in what we are doing and have yet to 
do in our University, the last of my mortal cares, and the last 
service I can render my country. But turning from myself, 
throwmg f.'gotism behind me, and looking to your happiness, it 


is a duty and consolation of friendship to consider that that may 
be promoted by your return to your own country. There I hope 
you will receive the honors and rewards you merit, and which 
may make the rest of your life easy and happy ; there too you 
will render precious services by promoting the science of your 
country, and blessing its future generations with the advantages 
that bestows. Nor even there shall we lose all the benefits of your 
friendship ; for this motive, as well as the love of your own 
country, will be an incitement to promote that intimate harmony 
between our two nations which is so much the interest of both. 
Nothing is so important as that America shall separate herself 
from the systems of Europe, and establish one of her own. Our 
circumstances, our pursuits, our interests, are distinct, the princi- 
ples of our policy should be so also. All entanglements with 
that quarter of the globe should be avoided if we mean that 
peace and justice shall be the polar stars of the American socie- 
ties. I had written a letter to a friend while you were here, in 
a part of which these sentiments were expressed, and I had 
made an extract from it to put into your hands, as containing my 
creed on that subject. You had left us, however, in the morn- 
ing earlier than I had been aware ; still I enclose it to you, be- 
cause it would be a leading principle with me, had I longer to 
live. During six and thirty years that I have been in situations 
to attend to the conduct and characters of foreign nations, I have 
found the government of Portugal the most just, inoffensive and 
unambitious of any one with which we had concern, without a 
single exception. I am sure that this is the character of ours 
also. Two such nations can never wish to quarrel with each oth- 
er. Subordinate officers may be negligent, may have their pas- 
sions and partialities, and be criminally remiss in preventing the 
enterprises of the lawless banditti who are to be found in every 
seaport of every country. The late piratical depredations which 
your commerce has suffered as well as ours, and that of other 
nations, seem to have been committed by renegado rovers of seve- 
ral nations, French, English, American, which they as well as 
we have not been careful enough to suppress. I hope our Con- 


gress now about to meet will strengthen the measures of suppress- 
ion. Of their disposition to do it there can be no doubt ; for all 
men of moral principle must be shocked at these atrocities. 1 
had repeated conversations on this subject with the President, 
while at his seat in this neighborhood. No man can abhor these 
enormities more deeply. I trust it will not have been in the 
power of abandoned rovers, nor yet of negligent functionaries, to 
disturb the harmony of two nations so much disposed to mutual 
friendship, and interested in it. To this, my dear friend, you 
can be mainly instrumental, and I know your patriotism and 
philanthropy too well to doubt your best efforts to cement us. 
In these I pray for your success, and that heaven may long pre- 
serve you in- health and prosperity to do all the good to mankind 
to which your enlightened and benevolent mind disposes you. 
Of the continuance of my affectionate friendship, with that of 
my life, and of its fervent wishes for your happiness, accept my 
sincere assurance. 


MoNTicELLo, November 4, 1820. 

Sir, — ^Your favor of September 18th is just received, with the 
book accompanying it. Its delay was owing to that of the box 
of books from Mr. Guegan, in which it was packed. Being 
just setting out on a journey I have time only to look over the 
summary of contents. In this I see nothing in which I am like- 
ly to differ materially from you. I hold the precepts of Jesus, 
as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and 
sublime which have ever been preached to man. I adhere to 
the principles of the first age ; and consider all subsequent inno- 
vations as corruptions of his religion, having no foundation in 
what came from him. The metaphysical insanities of Athana- 
sius, of Loyola, and of Calvin, are, to my understanding, mere 
relapses into polytheism, differing from paganism only by being 
more unintelligible. The religion of Jesus is founded in the 


Unity of God, and this principle chiefly, gave it triumph over 
the rabble of heathen gods then acknowledged. Thinking men 
of all nations rallied readily to the doctrine of one only God, 
and embraced it with the pure morals which Jesus inculcated. 
If the freedom of religion, guaranteed to us by law in theory, 
can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of 
public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine 
doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will 
dgain be restored to their origiaal purity. This reformation will 
advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but 
too late for me to witness it. Accept my thanks for your book, 
in which I shall read with pleasure your developments of the 
subject, and with them the assurance of my high respect. 


Poplar Forest, November 28, 1820. 

Dear Sib, — ^I sent in due time the Report of the Visitors to 
the Governor, with a request that he would endeavor to con- 
vene the Literary Board in time to lay it before the legislature 
on the second day of their session. It was enclosed in a letter 
which will explain itself to you. If delivered before the crowd 
of other business presses on them, they may act on it immedi- 
ately, and before there will have been time for unfriendly com- 
binations and maneuvi'es by the enemies of the institution. I 
enclose you now a paper presenting some views which may be 
useful to you in conversations, to rebut exaggerated estimates of 
what our institution is to cost, and reproaches of deceptive esti- 
mates. One hundred and sixty-two thousand three hundred and 
sixty-four dollars will be about the cost of the whole establish- 
ment, when completed. Not an office at Washington has cost 
less. The single building of the court house of Henrico has 
cost nearly that ; and the massive walls of the millions of bricks 
of William and Mary could not now be built for a less sum. 

Surely Governor Clinton's display of the gigantic efforts of 


New York towards the education of her citizens, will stimulate 
the pride as well as the patriotism of our legislature, to look to 
the reputation and safety of their own country, to rescue it from 
the degradation of becoming the Barbary of the Union, and of 
falling into the ranks of our own negroes. To that condition it 
is fast sinking. We shall be in the hands of the other States, 
what our indigenous predecessors were when invaded by the 
science and arts of Europe. The mass of education in Virginia, 
before the Revolution, placed her with the foremost of her sister 
colonies. What is her education now ? Where is it ? The 
little we have we import, like beggars, from other States ; or 
import their beggars to bestow on us their miserable crumbs. 
And what is wanting to restore us to our station among our con- 
federates ? Not more money from the people. Enough has 
been raised by them, and appropriated to this very object. 
It is that it should be employed understandingly, and for their 
greatest good. That good requires, that while they are instruct- 
ed in general, competently to the common business of life, others 
should employ their genius with necessary information to the 
useful arts, to inventions for saving labor and increasing our 
comforts, to nourishing our health, to civil government, military 
science, &c. 

Would it not have a good effect for the friends of this Uni- 
versity to take the lead in proposing and etfecting a practical 
scheme of elementary schools ? To assume the character of the 
friends, rather than the opponents of that object. The present 
plan has appropriated to the primary schools forty-five thousand 
dollars for three years, making one hundred and thirty-five thou- 
sand dollars. I should be glad to know if this sum has educated 
one hundred and thirty-five poor children ? I doubt it much. 
And if it has, they have cost us one thousand dollars a piece for 
what might have been done with thirty dollars. Supposing the 
literary revenue to be sixty thousand dollars, I think it demon- 
strable, that this sum, equally divided between the two objects, 
would amply suffice for both. One hundred counties, divided 
into about twelve wards each, on an average, and a school in 


each ward of perhaps ten children, would be one thousand and 
two hundred schools, distributed proportionably over the surface 
of the State. The inhabitants of each ward, meeting together 
(as when they work on the roads), building good log houses for 
their school and teacher, and contributing for his provisions, ra- 
tions of pork,, beef, and corn, in the proportion each of his other 
taxes, would thus lodge and feed him without feeling it ; and 
those of them who are able, paying for the tuition of their own 
children, would leave no call on the public fund but for the 
tuition fee of, here and there, an accidental pauper, who would 
still be fed and lodged with his parents. Suppose this fee ten 
dollars, and three hundred dollars apportioned to a county on an 
average,) more or less proportioned,) would there be thirty such 
paupers for every county ? I think not. The truth is, that the 
want of common education with us is not from our poverty, but 
from want of an orderly system. More money is now paid for 
the education of a part, than would be paid for that of the whole, 
if systematically arranged. Six thousand common schools in 
New York, fifty pupils in each, three hundred thousand in all ; 
one hundred and sixty thousand dollars annually paid to the 
masters ; forty established academies, with two thousand two 
hundred and eighteen pupils ; and five colleges, with seven hun- 
dred and eighteen students ; to which last classes of institutions 
seven hundred and twenty thousand dollars have been given ; 
and the whole appropriations for education estimated at two and 
a half millions of dollars ! What a pigmy to this is Virginia be- 
come, with a population almost equal to that of New York ! 
And whence this difference ? From the difference their rulers 
set on the value of knowledge, and the prosperity it produces. 
But still, if a pigmy, let her do what a pigmy may do. If among 
fifty children in each of the six thousand schools of New York, 
there are only paupers enough to employ twenty-five dollars of 
public money to each school, smely among the ten children of 
each of our one thousand and two hundred schools, the same 
sum of twenty-five dollars to each school will teach its paupers, 
(five times as much as to the same number in New York,) and 


will amount for the whole to thirty thousand dollars a year, the 
one-half only of our literary revenue. 

Do then, dear Sir, think of this, and engage our friends to take 
in hand the whole subject. It will reconcile the friends of the 
elementary schools, and none are more warmly so than myself, 
lighten the difficulties of the University, and promote in every 
order of men the degree of instruction proportioned to their con- 
dition, and to their views in life. It will combine with the mass 
of our force, a wise direction of it, which will insure to our 
country its future prosperity and safety. I had formerly thought 
that visitors of the school might be chosen by the county, and 
charged to provide teachers for every ward, and to superintend 
them. I now think it would be better for every ward to choose 
its own resident visitor, whose business it would be to keep a 
teacher in the ward, to superintend the school, and to call meet- 
ings of the ward for all purposes relating to it ; their accounts to 
be settled, and wards laid off by the courts. I think ward elec- 
tions better for many reasons, one of which is sufficient, that it 
will keep elementary education out of the hands of fanaticising 
preachers, who, in county elections, would be universally chosen, 
and the predominant sect 06 the county would possess itself of 
all its schools. 

A wrist stiffened by an ancient accident, now more so by the 
effect of age, renders writing a slow and irksome operation with 
me. I cannot, therefore, present these views, by separate letters 
to each of our colleagues in the legislature, but must pray you to 
communicate them to Mr. Johnson and General Breckenridge, 
and to request them to consider this as equally meant for them. 
Mr. Gordon being the local representative of the University, 
and among its most zealous friends, would be a more useful 
second to General Breckenridge in the House of Delegates, by 
a free communication of what concerns the University, with which 
he has had little opportunity of becoming acquainted. So, also, 
would it be to Mr. Rives, who would be a friendly advocate. , 

Accept the assurances of my constant and affectionate esteem 
and respect. 



Poplar Fouest, November 29, 1820. 

Deah Sir, — The enclosed letter from our ancient friend 
Tenche Coxe, came unfortunately to Monticello after I had left 
it, and has had a dilatory passage to this place, where I received 
it yesterday, and obey its injunction of immediate transmission 
to you. We should have recognized the style even without a 
signature, and although so written as to be much of it indeci- 
pherable. This is a sample of the effects we may expect 
from the late mischievous law vacating every four years nearly 
all the executive officers of the government. It saps the consti- 
tutional and salutary functions of the President, and introduces 
a principle of intrigue and corruption, which will soon leaven 
the mass, not only of Senators, but of citizens. It is more bane- 
ful than the attempt which failed in the beginning of the gov- 
ernment, to make all officers irremovable but with the consent 
of the Senate. This places, every four years, all appointments 
under their power, and even obliges them to act on every one 
nomination. It will keep in constant excitement all the hungry 
cormorants for office, render them,- as well as those in place, 
sycophants to their Senators, engage these in eternal intrigue to 
turn out one and put in another, in cabals to swap work ; and 
make of them what all executive directories become, mere sinks 
of corruption and faction. This must have been one of the mid- 
night signatures of the President, when he had not time to con- 
sider, or even to read the law ; and the more fatal as being irre- 
pealable but with^the consent of the Senate, which will never 
be obtained. 

F. Gilmer has communicated to me Mr.- Correa's letter to him 
of adieux to his friends here, among whom he names most af- 
fectionately Mrs. Madison and yourself. No foreigner, I believe, 
has ever carried with him more friendly regrets. . He was to sail 
the next day (November 10) in the British packet for England, and 
thence take his passage in January for Brazil. His present views 
are of course liable to be affected by the events of Portugal, and 


the possible effects of their example on Brazil. I expect to re- 
turn to Monticello about the middle of the ensuing month, and 
salute you with constant affection and respect. 


MoNTioELLO, December 25, 1820. 

Deab Sir, — On my return home after a long absence, I find 
here your favor of November the 23d, with Colonel Taylor's 
"Constructi«m Construed," which you have been so kind as to send 
me, in the name of the author as well as yourself. Permit me, 
if you please, to use the same channel for conveying to him the 
thanks I render you also for this mark of attention. I shall read 
it, I know, with edification, as I did his Inquiry, to which I ac- 
knowledge myself indebted for many valuable ideas, and for the 
correction of some errors of early opinion, never seen in a cor- 
rect light until presented to me in that work. That the present 
volume is equally orthodox, I know before reading it, because I 
know that Colonel Taylor and myself have rarely, if ever, dif- 
fered in any political principle of importance. Every act of his 
life, and every word he ever wrote, satisfies me of this. So, also, 
as to the two Presidents, late and now in office, I know them 
both to be of principles as truly republican as any men living 
If there be anything amiss, therefore, in the present state of oui 
affairs, as the formidable deficit lately unfolded to us indicates 
I ascribe it to the inattention of Congress to their duties, to theii 
unwise dissipation and waste of the public contributions. They 
seemed, some little while ago, to be at a loss for objects whereon 
to throw away the supposed fathomless funds of the treasury. 1 
had feared the result, because I saw among them some of my old 
fellow laborers, of tried and known principles, yet often in their 
minorities. I am aware that in one of their most ruinous vagar- 
ies, the people were themselves betrayed into the same phrenzy 
with their Representatives. The deficit produced, and a heavy 
•ax to supply it, will, I trust, bring both to their sober senses. 


But it is not from this branch of government we have most to 
fear. Taxes and short elections will keep them right. The ju- 
diciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and 
miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foun- 
dations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our 
constitution from a co-ordination of a general and special gov- 
ernment to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all 
things at their feet, and they are too well versed in English law to 
forget the maxim, " boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem." 
We shall see if they are bold enough to take the daring stride 
their five lawyers have lately taken. If they do, then, with the 
editor of our book, in his address to the pulalic, I will say, that 
" against this every man should raise his voice," and more, 
should uplift his arm. Who wrote this admirable address ? 
Sound, luminous, strong, not a word too much, nor one which 
can be changed but for the worse. That pen should go on, lay 
bare these wounds of our constitution, expose the decisions seria- 
tim, and arouse, as it is able, the attention of the nation to these 
bold speculators on its patience. Having found, from experience, 
that impeachment is an impracticable thing, a mere scare-crow, 
they consider themselves secure for life ; they sculk from responsi- 
bility to public opinion, the only remaining hold on them, under a 
practice first introduced into England by Lord 'Mansfield. An 
opinion is huddled up in conclave, perhaps by a majority of one, 
delivered as if unanimous, and with the silent acquiescence of 
lazy or timid associates, by a crafty chief judge, who sophisti- 
cates the law to his mind, by the turn of his own reasoning. A 
judiciary law was once reported by the Attorney General to 
Congress, requiring each judge to deliver his opinion seriatim 
and openly, and then to give it in writing to the clerk to be en- 
tered in the record. A judiciary independent of a king or ex- 
ecutive alone, is a good thing ; but independence of the will of 
the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government. 

But to return to your letter ; you ask for my opinion of the 
work you send me, and to let it go out to the public. This I 
have ever made a point of declining, (one or twa instances only 


excepted.) Complimentary thanks to writers who have sent me 
their works, have betrayed me sometimes before the public, with- 
out my consent having beeu asked. But I am far from presum- 
ing to direct the reading of my fellow citizens, who are good 
enough judges themselves of what is worthy their reading. I 
am, also, too desirous of quiet to place myself in the way of con- 
tention. Against this I am admonished by bodily decay, which 
cannot be unaccompanied by coiTesponding wane of the mind. 
Of this I am as yet sensible, sufficiently to be unwilling to trust 
myself before the public, and when I cease to be so, I hope that 
my friends will be too careful of me to draw me forth and pre- 
sent me, like a Priam in armor, as a spectacle for public com- 
passion. I hope our political bark will ride through all its dan- 
gers ; but I can in future be but an inert passenger. 

I salute you with sentiments of great friendship and respect. 


MoNTiuici.i.o, Di'cember 26, 1820. 

It is long, indeed, my very dear friend, since I have been able 
to address a letter to you. For more than two years my health 
has been sj entirely prostrate, that I have, of necessity, inter- 
mitted all correspondence. The dislocated wrist, too, which 
perhaps you may recollect, has now become so stiff from the 
effects of age, that writing is become a slow and painful opera- 
tion, and scarcely ever undertaken but under the goad of imperi- 
ous business. In the meantime your country has been going on 
less well than I had hoped. But it will go on. The light which 
has been shed on the mind of man through the civilized world, 
has given it a new direction, from which no human power can 
divert it. The sovereigns of Europe who are wise, or have wise 
counsellors, see this, and bend to the breese which blows ; the 
unwise alone stiffen and meet its inevitable crush. The volcanic 
rumblings in the bowels of Europe, from north to south, seem to 

V.)L. V]l. 1.^ 


threaten a general explosion, and the march of armies into Italy 
cannot end in a simple march. The disease of liberty is catch- 
ing ; those armies will take it in the south, carry it thence to their 
own country, spread there the infection of revolution and repre- 
sentative government, and raise its people from the prone con- 
dition of brutes to the erect altitude of man. Some fear our en- 
velopment in the wars engendering from the unsettled state of 
our aifairs with Spain, and therefore are anxious for a ratifica- 
tion of our treaty with her. I fear no such thing, and hope that 
if ratified by Spain it will be rejected here. We may justly say 
to Spain, " when this negotiation commenced, twenty years ago, 
your authority was acknowledged by those you are selling to us. 
That authority is now renounced, and their right of self-disposal 
asserted. In buying them from you, then, we buy but a war- 
litle, a right to subdue them, which yon can neither convey nor 
we acquire. This is a family quarrel in which we have no right 
to meddle. Settle it between yourselves, and we will then treat 
with the party whose right is acknowledged." With whom that 
will be, no doubt can be entertained. And why should we re- 
volt them by purchasing them as cattle, rather than receiving 
them as fellow-men ? Spain has held off until she sees they are 
lost to her, and now thinks it better to get something than no- 
thing for them. When she shall see South America equally des- 
perate, she will be wise to sell that also. 

With us things are going on well. The boisterous sea of lib- 
erty indeed is never without a wave, and that from Missouri is 
now rolling towards us, but we shall ride over it as we have over 
all others. It is not a moral question, but one merely of power. 
Its object is to raise a geographical principle for the choice of a 
president, and the noise will be kept up till that is effected. All 
know that permitting the slaves of the south to spread into the 
west will not add one being to that unfortunate condition, that 
it will increase the happiness of those existing, and by spreading 
them over a larger surface, will dilute the evil everywhere, and 
facilitate the means of getting finally rid of it, an event more 
anxiously wished by those on whom it presses than by the noisy 


pretenders to exclusive humanity. In the meantime, it is a lad- 
der for rivals climbing to power. 

In a letter to Mr. Porrey, of March 18th, 1819, I informed 
him of the success of our application to Congress on his behalf. 
I enclosed this letter to you, but hearing nothing from him, and 
as you say nothing of it in yours of July 20th, I am not without 
fear it may have miscarried. In the present I enclose for him 
the Auditor's certificate, and the letters of General Washington 
and myself, which he had forwarded to me with a request of 
their return. Your kindness in delivering thts will render un- 
necessary another letter from me, an effort which necessarily 
obliges me to spare myself. 

If you shall hear from me more seldom than heretofore, ascribe 
it, my ever dear friend, to the heavy load of seventy-seven years 
and to waning health, but not to weakened affections; these will 
continue what they have ever been, and will ever be sincere and 
warm to the latest breath of yours devotedly. 


MoNTiCKLi.o, December 27, 1820. 

Dear Sir, — Your letter received more than a twelvemonth 
ago, with the two tracts on penal jurisprudence, and the literary 
institution of Liverpool, ought long since to have called for the 
thanks I now return, had it been in my power sooner to have 
tendered them. But a long continuance of ill health has sus- 
pended all power of answering the kind attentions with which 
I have been honored during it ; and it is only now that a state 
of slow and uncertain convalescence enables me to make ac- 
knowledgments which have been so long and painfully delayed. 
The treatise on penal jurisprudence I read with great pleasure. 
Beccaria had demonstrated general principles, but practical appli- 
cations were difficult. Our States are trying them with more or 
less success ; and the great light you have thrown on the subject 
will, I am sure, be useful to our experiment. For the thing, as 


yet, is but in experiment. Your Liverpool institution will a'so 
aid us in the organization of our new University, an establish- 
ment now in progress in this State, and to which my remaining 
days and faculties will be devoted. When ready for its Profes- 
sors, we shall apply for them chiefly to your island. Were we 
content to remain stationary in science, we should take them from 
among ourselves ; but, desirous of advancing, we must seek 
them in countries already in advance ; and identity of language 
points to our best resource. To furnish inducements, we pro- 
vide for the Professors separate buildings, in which themselves 
and their families may be handsomely and comfortably lodged, 
and to liberal salaries will be added lucrative perquisites. This 
institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human 
mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it 
may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free 
to combat it. 

We are looking with wonder at what is passing among yon. 

" Eesembles ocean into tempest wrouglit, 
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly." 

There must be something in these agitations more than meets 
the eye of a distant spectator. Your queen must be used in this 
as a rallying point merely, around which are gathering the dis- 
contents of every quarter and character. If these flowed from 
theories of government only, and if merely from the heads of 
speculative men, they would admit of parley, of negotiation, of 
management. But I fear they are the workings of hungry bel- 
lies, which nothing but food will fill and quiet. I sincerely wish 
you safely out of them. Circumstances have nourished between 
our kindred countries angry dispositions which both ought long 
since to have banished from their bosoms. I have ever consid- 
ered a cordial affection as the first interest of both. No nation 
on earth can hurt us so much as yours, none be more useful to 
you than ours. The obstacle, we have believed, was in the 
obstinate and unforgiving temper of your late king, and a con- 


tinuance of his prejudices kept up from habit, after he was with 
drawn from power. I hope T now see symptoms of sounder 
views in your government ; in which I know it will be cordially 
met by ours, as it would have been by every administration 
which has existed under our present constitution. None desired 
it more cordially than myself, whatever different opinions were 
impressed on your government by a party who wishes to have 
its weight in their scale as its exclusive friends. 

My ancient friend and classmate, James Maury, informs me by 
letter that he has sent me a bust which I shall receive with great 
pleasure and thankfulness, and shall arrange in honorable file with 
those of some cherished characters. Will you permit me to 
place here my affectionate souvenirs of him, and accept for your- 
self the assurance of the highest consideration and esteem. 


MoNTiCEi,i,o. January 19, 1821. 

Deah- Francis, — Your letter of the 1st came safely to hand. 
I am sorry you have lost Mr. Elliot, however the kindness of 
Dr. Cooper will be able to keep you in the track of what is 
worthy of your time. 

You ask my opinion of Lord Bolingbroke and Thomas Paine. 
They were alike in making bitter enemies of the priests and 
pharisees of their day. Both were honest men ; both advocates 
for human liberty. Paine wrote for a country which permitted 
him to push his reasoning to whatever length it would go. Lord 
Bolingbroke in one restrained by a constitution, and by public 
opinion. He was called indeed a tory ; but his writings prove 
him a stronger advocate for libei'ty than any of his countrymen, 
the whigs of the present day. Irritated by his exile, he com- 
mitted one act unworthy of him, in connecting himself momen- 
tarily with a prince rejected by his country. But he redeemed 
that single act by his establishment of the principles which proved 
it to be wrong. These two persons differed remarkably in the 


style of their writing, each leaving a model of what is most per- 
fect in both extremes of the simple and the sublime. No writer 
has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity of style, in perspi- 
cuity of expression, happiness of elucidation, and in simple and 
unassuming language. In this he may be compared with Dr. 
Franklin ; and indeed his Common Sense was, for awhile, be- 
lieved to have been written by Dr. Franklin, and published un- 
der the borrowed name of Paine, who had come over with him 
from England. Lord Bolingbrbke's, on the other hand, is a 
style of the highest order. The lofty, rythmical, full-flowing 
eloquence of Cicero. Periods of just measure, their members 
proportioned, their close full and round. His conceptions, too, 
are bold and strong, his diction copious, polished and command- 
ing as his subject. His writings are certainly the finest samples 
in the English language, of the eloquence proper for the Senate. 
His political tracts are safe reading for the most timid religion- 
ist, his philosophical, for those who are not afraid to trust their 
reason with disc^ussions of right and wrong. 

You have asked my opinion of these persons, and, to you, I 
have given it freely. But, remember, that I am old, that I wish 
not to make new enemies, nor to give offence to those who 
would consider a difference of opinion as sufficient ground for 
unfriendly dispositions. God bless you, and make you what I 
wish you to be. 


MoNTicKLi.o, January 19, 1821. 

Dear Sib, — I duly received your favor of the 11th, covering 
Judge Roane's letter, which I now return. Of the kindness 
of his sentiments expressed towards myself I am highly sensi- 
ble ; and could I believe that my public services had merited the 
approbation he so indulgently bestows, the satisfaction I should 
derive from it would be reward enough to his wish that I would 
take a part in the transactions of the present day. I am sensi- 


ble of my incompetence. For first, I know little about them, 
having long withdrawn my attention from public affairs, and re- 
signed myself with folded arms to the care of those who are to 
care for us all. And, next, the hand of time pressing heavily on 
me, in mind as well as body, leaves to neither sufficient energy 
to engage in public contentions. I am sensible of the inroads 
daiiy making by the federal, into the jurisdiction of its co-ordi- 
nate associates, the State governments. The legislative and ex- 
ecutive branches may sometimes err, but elections and depend- 
ence will bring them to rights. The judiciary branch is the 
instrument which, working like gravity, without intermission, is 
to press us at last into one consolidated mass. Against this I 
know no one who, equally with Judge Roane himself, possesses 
the power and the courage to make resistance ; and to him 1 
look, and have long looked, as our strongest bulwark. If Con- 
gress fails to shield the States from dangers so palpable and so 
imminent, the States must shield themselves, and meet the in- 
vader foot to foot. This is already half done by Colonel Tay- 
lor's book ; because a conviction that we are right accomplishes 
half the difficulty of correcting wrong. This book is the most 
effectual retraction of our government to its original principles 
whi h has ever yet been sent by heaven to our aid. Every 
State in the Union should give a copy to every member they 
elect, as a standing instruction, and ours should set the example. 
Accept with Mrs. Thweat the assurance of my affectionate and 
respectful attachment. 


MoN'TicKLLO, January 2'2, 1821. 

X was quite rejoiced, dear Sir, to see that you had health and 
spirits enough to take part in the late convention of your State, 
for revising its constitution, and to bear your share in its debates 
and labors. The amendments of which we have as yet heard, 
prove the advance of liberalism in the intervening period ; and 


encourage a hope that the human mind will some day get back 
to the freedom it enjoyed two thousand years ago. This coun- 
try, which has given to the world the example of physical liber- 
ty, owes to it that of moral emancipation also, for as yet it is but 
nominal with us. The inquisition of public opinion overwhelms 
in practice, the freedom asserted by the laws in theory. 

Our anxieties ia this quarter are all concentrated in the ques- 
tion, what does the Holy Alliance in and out of Congress mean 
to do with us on the Missouri question ? And this, by-the-bye, 
is but the name of the case, it is only the John Doe or Richard 
Roe of the ejectment. The real question, as seen in the States 
afflicted with this unfortunate population, is, are our slaves to be 
presented with freedom and a dagger ? For if Congress has the 
power to regulate the conditions of the inhabitants of the States, 
within the States, it will be but another exercise of that power, 
to declare that all shall be free. Are we then to see again Athe- 
nian and Lacedemonian confederacies ? To wage another Pelo- 
ponnesian war to settle the ascendency between them ? Or is 
this the tocsin of merely a servile war ? That remains to be 
seen ; but not, I hope, by you or me. Surely, they will parley 
awhile, and give us time to get out of the way. What a Bed- 
lamite is man ? But let us turn from our ov/n uneasiness to the 
miseries of our southern friends. Bolivar and Morillo, it seems, 
have come to the parley, with dispositions at length to stop the 
useless effusion of human blood in that quarter. I feared from 
the beginning, that these people were not yet sufficiently enlight- 
ened for self-government ; and that after wading through blood 
and slaughter, they would end in military tyrannies, more or less 
numerous. Yet as they wished to try the experiment, I wished 
them success in it ; they have now tried it, and will possibly find 
that their safest road will be an accommodation with the mother 
country, which shall hold them together by the single hnk of 
the same chief magistrate, leaving to him power enough to keep 
them in peace with one another, and to themselves the essential 
power of self-government and self-improvement, until they shall 
be sufficiently trained by education and habits of freedom, to 


walk safely by themselves. Representative government, native 
functionaries, a qualified negative on their laws, with a previous 
security by compact for freedom of commerce, freedom of the 
press, habeas corpus and trial by jury, would make a good be- 
ginning. This last would be the school in which their people 
might begin to learn the exercise of civic duties as well as rights. 
For freedom of religion they are not yet prepared. The scales 
of bigotry have not sufficiently fallen from their eyes, to accept 
it for themselves individually, much less to trust others with it. 
But that will come in time, as well as a general ripeness to break 
entirely from the parent stem. You see, my dear Sir, how 
easily we prescribe for others a cure for their difficulties, while 
we cannot cure our own. We must leave both, I believe, to 
heaven, and wrap ourselves up in the mantle of resignation, and 
of that friendship of which I tender to you the most sincere as- 
surances. V 


M(;m[ckllo, January 31, 1821. 

Deab Sie, — Your favors of the 18th and 25th came together, 
three days ago. They fill me with gloom as to the dispositions 
of our legislature towards the University. I perceive that I am 
not to live to see it opened. As to what had better be done 
within the limits of their will, I trust with entire confidence to 
what yourself, Gen. Breckenridge and Mr. Johnson shall think 
best. You will see what is practicable, and give it such shape 
as you think best. If a loan is to be resorted to, I think sixty 
thousand dollars will be necessary, including the library. Its in- 
stalments cannot begin until those of the former loan are accom- 
plished ; and they should not begin later, nor be less than thir- 
teen thousand dollars a year. (I think it safe to retain two thon- 
oand dollars a year for care of the buildings, improvement of 
the grounds, and unavoidable contingencies.) To extingmsh 
this second loan, will require between five and six instalments, 
which will carry us to the end of 1833, or thirteen years from 


this time. My individual opinion is, that we had better not open 
the institution until the buildings, library, and all, are finished, 
and our funds cleared of incumbrance. These buildings oncts 
erected, will secure the full object infallibly at the end of thirteen 
years, and as much earlier as the legislature shall choose. And 
if we were to begin sooner, with half funds only, it would satisfy 
the common mind, prevent their aid beyond that point, and our 
institution remaining at that forever, would be no more than the 
paltry academies we now have. Even with the whole funds we 
shall be reduced to six professors. Whjle Harvard will still prime 
it over us with her twenty professors. How many of our youths 
she now has, learning the lessons of anti-Missourianism, I know 
not ; but a gentleman lately from Princeton, told me he saw there 
the list of the students at that place, and that more than half 
were Virginians. These will return home, no doubt, deeply im- 
pressed with the sacred principles of our Holy Alliance of re- 

But the gloomiest of all prospects, is in the desertion of the 
best friends of the institution, for desertion I must call it. I 
know not the necessities which may force this on you. General 
Cocke, you say, will explain them to me ; but I cannot conceive 
them, nor persuade myself they are uncontrollable. I have ever 
hoped, that yourself, Gen. Breckenridge and Mr. Johnson would 
stand at your posts in the legislature, until everything was effect- 
ed, and the institution opened. If it is so difficult to get along 
with all the energy and influence of our present colleagues in the 
legislature, how can we expect to proceed at all, reducing our 
moving power? I know well your devotion to your country, 
and your foresight of the awful scenes coming on her, sooner or 
later. With this foresight, what service can we ever render her 
equal to this ? What object of our lives can we propose so im- 
portant ? What interest of our own which ought not to be post- 
poned to this? Health, time, labor, on what in the single life 
which nature has given us, can these be better bestowed than on 
this immortal boon to our country ? The exertions and the mor- 
tifications are temporary ; the benefit eternal. If any member of 


our college of visitors could justifiably withdraw from this sacred 
duty, it would be myself, who, quadragenis stipendiis jamdu- 
dum peractis, have neither vigor of body nor mind left to keep 
the field ; but I will die in the last ditch, and so I hope you will, 
my friend, as well as our firm-breasted brothers and colleagues, 
Mr. Johnson and Gen. Breckenridge. Nature will not give you 
a second life wherein to atone for the omissions of this. Pray 
then, dear and very dear Sir, do not think of deserting us, but 
view the sacrifices which seem to stand in your way, as the lesser 
duties, and such as ought to be postponed to this, the greatest of 
all Continue with us in these holy labors, until having seen 
their accomplishment, we may say with old Simeon, " nunc di- 
mittas, Domine." Under all circumstances, however, of praise 
or blame, I shall be aflectionately yours. 


MoNTiCELLo, February 13, 1821. 

I am favored. Sir, with your letter of January 26th, and am 
duly sensible of the honor proposed of giving to my portrait a 
place among the benefactors of our nation, and of the establish- 
ment of West Point in particular. I have ever considered that 
establishment as of major importance to our country, and in 
whatever I could do for it, I viewed myself as performing a duty 
only. This is certainly more than requited by the kind senti- 
ments expressed in your letter. The real debt of the institution 
is to its able and zealous professors. Mr. Sully, I fear, however, 
will consider the trouble of his journey, and the employment of 
his fine pencil, as illy bestowed on an ottamy of 78. Voltaire, 
when requested by a female friend to sit for his bust by the 
sculptor Pigalle, answered, " J'ai soixante seize ans ; et M. Pigalle 
doit, dit-on venir modeler mon visage. Mais, Madame, il fau- 
drait que j'eusse un visage. On n'en devinerait a peine la place 
mes yeux sont enfonces de trois pouces ; mes joues sent de vieux 
parchemin mal coUes sur des os qui ne tiennent a rien. Le pcLi 


de dents que j'avais est parti." I will conclude, however, with 
him, that what remains is at your service, and that of the pencil 
of Mr. Sully. I shall be at home till the middle of April, when 
I shall go for some time to an occasional and distant residence. 
Within this term Mr. Sully will be pleased to consult his own 
convenience, in which the state of the roads will of course have 
great weight. Every day of it will be equal with me. 

I pray you. Sir, to convey to the brethren of your institution, 
and to accept for yourself also, the assurance of my high con- 
sideration and regard. 


MoNiCELLO, February 15, 1821. 

Deah Sir, — I learn, with deep affliction, that nothing is likely 
to be done for our University this year. So near as it is to the 
shore that one shove more would land it there, I had hoped that 
would be given ; and that we should open with the next year an 
institution on which the fortunes of our country may depend more 
than may meet the general eye. The reflections that the boys 
of this age are to be the men of the next ; that they should be 
prepared to receive the holy charge which we are cherishing to 
deliver over to them ; that in establishing an institution of wis- 
dom for them, we secure it to all our future generations ; that in 
fulfilling this duty, we bring home to our OAvn bosoms the sweet 
consolation of seeing our sons rising under a luminous tuition, 
to destinies of high promise ; these are considerations which will 
occur to all ; but all, I fear, do not see the speck in our horizon 
which is to burst on us as a tornado, sooner or later. The hne 
of division lately marked out between different portions of our 
confederacy, is such as will never, I fear, be obliterated, and we 
are now trusting to those who are against us in position and prin- 
ciple, to fashion to their own form the minds and affections of 
our youth. If, as has been estimated, we send three hundred 
thousand dollars a year to the northern seminaries, for the in- 


struction of our own sons, then we must have there five hundred 
of our sons, imbibing opinions and principles in discord with 
those of their own country. This canker is eating on the vitak 
of our existence, and if not arrested at once, will be beyond re- 
medy.. We are now certainly fLirnishing recruits to their school. 
If it be asked what are we to do, or said we cannot give the last 
lift to the University without stopping our primary schools, and 
these we think most important ; I answer, I know their import- 
ance. Nobody can doubt my zeal for the general instruction 
of the people. Who first started that idea ? I may surely say, 
myself. Turn to the bill in the revised code, which I drew more 
than forty years ago, and before which the idea of a plan for the 
education of the people, generally, had never been suggested in 
this State. There you will see developed the first rudiments of 
the whole system of general education we are now urging and 
acting on ; and it is well known to those with whom I have acted 
on this subject, that I never have proposed a sacrifice of the pri- 
mary to the ultimate grade of instruction. Let us keep our eye 
steadily on the whole system. If we cannot do everything at 
once, let us do one at a time. The primary schools need no pre- 
liminary expense ; the ultimate grade requires a considerable ex- 
penditure in advance. A suspension of proceeding for a year or 
two on the primary schools, and an application of the whole in- 
come, during that time, to the completion of the buildings neces- 
sary for the University, would enable us then to start both institu- 
tions at the same time. The intermediate branch, of colleges, 
academies and private classical schools, for the middle grade, may 
hereafter receive any necessary aids when the funds shall become 
competent. In the meantime, they are going on sufficiently, as 
they have ever yet gone on, at the private expense of those who 
use them, and who in numbers and means are competent to their 
own exigencies. The experience of three years has, I presume, 
left no doubt that the present plan of primary schools, of putting 
money into the hands of twelve hundred persons acting for no- 
thing, and under no responsibility, is entirely inefiicient. Some 
other must be thought of; and during this pause, if it be only for 


a year, the whole revenue of that year, with that of the last three 
years which has not been already thrown away, would place our 
University in readiness to start with a better organization of pri- 
mary schools, and both may then go on, hand in hand, forever. 
No diminution of the capital will in this way have been incurred ; 
a principle which ought to be deemed sacred. A relinquishment 
of interest on the late loan of sixty thousand dollars, would so far, 
also, forward the University without lessening the capital. 

But what may be best done I leave with entire confidence to 
yourself and your colleagues in legislation, who know better 
than I do the conditions of the literary fund and its wisest ap- 
plication ; and I shall acquiesce with perfect resignation to theii 
will. I have brooded, perhaps with fondness, over this estab- 
lishment, as it held up to me the hope of continuing to be useful 
while I continued to live. I had believed that the course and cir- 
cumstances of my life had placed within my power soigne services 
favorable to the outset of the institution. But this may be egot- 
ism ; pardonable, perhaps, .when I express a consciousness that 
my colleagues and successors will do as well, whatever the leg- 
islature shall enable them to do. 

I have thus, my dear Sir, opened my bosom, with all its anxi- 
eties, freely to you. I blame nobody for seeing things in a differ- 
ent light. I am sure that all act conscientiously, and that all will 
be done honestly and wisely which can be done. I yield the 
concerns of the world with cheerfuhiess to those who are ap- 
pointed in the order of nature to succeed to them ; and for your-* 
self, for our colleagues, and for all in charge of our country's fu- 
ture fame and fortune, I otfer up sincere prayers. 


MoNTiOKLi.o, February 26, 18-21. 

Dear Sir, — While you were in this neighborhood, you men- 
tioned to me your intention of studying the law, and asked my 
opinion as to the sufficient course of reading. I gave it to you, 


ore tenns, and with so little consideration that I do not remem- 
ber what it was ; but I have since recollected that I once wrote 
a letter to Dr. Cooper,* on good consideration of the subject. He 
was then law-lecturer, I believe, at Carlisle. My stiffening wrist 
makes writing now a slow and painful operation, but my grand- 
daughter Ellen undertakes to copy the letter, which I shall en- 
close herein. 

I notice in that letter four distinct epochs at which the English 
laws have been reviewed, and their whole body, as existing at 
each epoch, well digested into a code. These digests were by 
Bracton, Coke, Matthew Bacon and Blackstone. Bracton having 
written about the commencement of the extant statutes, may be 
considered as having given a digest of the laws then in being, 
written and unwritten, and forming, therefore, the textual code of 
what is called the common law, just at the period too when it 
begins to be altered by statutes to which we can appeal. But so 
much of his matter is become obsolete by change of circum- 
stances or altered by statute, that the student may omit him for 
the present, and 

1st. Begin with fCoke's four Institutes. These give a com- 
plete body of the law as it stood in the reign of the first James, 
an epoch the more interesting to us, as we separated at that point 
from English legislation, and acknowledge no subse.;iuent stat- 
utary alterations. 

* January 16, 1814 

f Since the date of this letter, a most important and valuable edition has been 
pi;blislied of CokeV First Institute. The editor, Thomas, has analyzed the -whole 
work, and re-eomposed its matter in the order of Blackstone's Commentaries, not 
omitting a sentence of Lord Coke's text, nor inserting one not his. In notes, un- 
der the text, he has given the modern decisions relating to the same subjects, 
rendering it thus as methodical, lucid, easy and agreeable to the reader as Blaok- 
Btoue, and more precise and profound. It can now be no longer doubted that 
this is the very best elementary work for a beginner in the study of the law. It 
is not, I suppose, to be had in this State, and questionable if in the North, as yet, 
and it is dear, costing iu England four guineas or nineteen dollars, to whieh add 
the duty here on imported books, which, on the three volumes 8vo, is something 
more than three dollars, or one dollar the 8to volume. This is a tax on learned 
readers to support printers for the readers of " The Delicate Distress, and The 
Wild Irish Boy" 


2. Then passing over (for occasional reading as hereafter pro- 
posed) all the reports and treatises to the time of Matthew Ba- 
con, read his abridgment, compiled about one hundred years after 
Coke's, in which they are all embodied. This gives numerous 
applications of the old principles to new cases, and gives the gen- 
eral state of the English law at that period. 

Here, too, the student should take up the chancery branch of 
the law, by reading the first and second abridgments of the cases 
in Equity. The second is by the same Matthew Bacon, the first 
having been published some time before. The alphabetical order 
adopted by Bacon, is certainly not as satisfactory as the system- 
atic. But the arrangement is under very general and leading 
heads, and these, indeed, with very little difficulty, might be sys- 
tematically instead of alphabetically arranged and read. 

3. Passing now in like manner over all intervening reports 
and tracts, the student may take up Blackstone's Commentaries, 
published about twenty-five years later than Bacon's abridgment, 
and giving the substance of these new reports and tracts. This 
review is not so full as that of Bacon, by any means, but better 
digested. Here, too, Woodeson should be read as supplementary 
to Blackstone, under heads too shortly treated by him. Fou- 
blanque's edition of Francis' Maxims of Equity, and Bridgman's 
digested Index, into which the latter cases are incorporated, are 
also sujjplementary in the chancery branch, in which Blackstone 
is very short. 

This course comprehends about twenty-six 8vo volumes, and 
reading four or five hours a day would employ about two years. 

After these, the best of the reporters since Blackstone should 
be read for the new cases which have occurred since his time. 
Which they are I know not, as all of them are since my time. 

By way of change and relief for another hour or two in the 
day, should be read the law-tracts of merit which are many, and 
among them all those of Baron Gilbert are of the fii'st order. la 
these hours, too, may be read Bracton, (now translated,) and Jus- 
tinian's Institute. The method of these two last works is very 
much the same, and their language often quite so. Justinian is 


*ery illustrative of the doctrines of equity, and is often appealea 
lo, and Cooper's edition is the best on account of the analogies and 
contrasts he has given of the Roman and Enghsh law. Aftor 
Bracton, Reeves' History of the English Law may he read to ad- 
vantage. During this same hour or two of lighter law reading, 
select and leading cases of the reporters may be successively 
read, which the several digests will have pointed out and re- 
ferred to. 


I have here sketched the reading in common law and chan- 
cery which I suppose necessary for a reputable practitioner in 
those courts. But there are other branches of law in which, al- 
though it is not expected he should be an adept, yet when it 
occurs to speak of them, it should be understandingly to a decent 
degree. There are the Admiralty law, Ecclesiastical law, and the 
Law of Nations. I would name as elementary books in these 
branches, Molloy de Jure Maritimo. Brown's Compend of the 
Civil and Admiralty Law, 2 vols. 8vo. The Jura Ecclesiastica, 
2 vols. 8vo. And Les Institutions du droit de la Nature et des 
Gens de Reyneval, 1 vol. 8vo. 

Besides these six hours of law reading, light and heavy, and 
those necessary for the repasts of the day, for exercise and sleep, 
which suppose to be ten or twelve, there will still be six or eight 
hours for reading history, politics, ethics, physics, oratory, poetry, 
criticism, &c., as necessary as law to form an accomplished 

The letter to Dr. Cooper, with this as a suppleriient, will give 
you those ideas on a sufficient course of law reading which I 
ought to have done with more consideration at the moment of 
your first request. Accept them now as a testimony of my es- 
teem, and of sincere wishes for your success ; and the family, una 
voce, desires me to convey theirs with my own affectionate salu- 

vol.. VII. 14 



MoxTiOKLLO, February 27, 1821, 

I have received, Sir, your favor of the 12th, and I assure you 
I received it with pleasure. It is true, as you say, that we have 
differed in political opinions ; but I can say with equal truth, that 
I never suffered a political to become a personal difference. I 
have been left on this ground by some friends whom I dearly 
loved, but I was never the first to separate. With some others, 
of politics different from mine, I have continued in the warmest 
friendship to this day, and to all, and to yourself particularly, 1 
have ever done moral justice. 

I thank you for Mr. Channing's discourse, which you have 
been so kind as to forward me. It is not yet at hand, but is 
doubtless on its way. I had received it through another chan- 
nel, and read it with high satisfaction. No one sees with greater 
pleasure than myself the progress of reason, in its advances to- 
wards rational Christianity. When we shall have done away the 
incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three 
are one, and one is three ; when we shall have knocked down 
the artificial scaffolding, reared to mask from view the simple 
structure of Jesus ; when, in short, we shall have unlearned every- 
thing which has been taught since his day, and got back to the 
pure and simple doctrines he inculcated, we shall then be truly 
and worthily his disciples; and my opinion is that if nothing had 
ever been added to what flowed purely from his lips, the whole 
world would at this day have been Christian. I know that the 
case you cite, of Dr. Drake, has been a common one. The re- 
ligion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of 
Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods 
have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, 
as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, 
and drive them rashly to pronounee its founder an impostor. 
Had there never been a commentator, there never would have 
been an infidel. In the present advance of truth, which we both 
approve, I do not know that you and I may think alike on jJI 


points. As the Creator has made no two faces alike, so no two 
minds, and probably no two creeds. We well know that among 
Unitarians themselves there are strong shades of difference, as be- 
tween Doctor<5 Price and Priestley, for example. So there may 
be peculiarities in your creed and in mine. They are honestly 
formed without doubt. I do not wish to trouble the world with 
mine, nor to be troubled for them. These accounts are to be set- 
tled only with him who made us ; and to him we leave it, with 
charity for all others, of whom, also, he is the only rightful and 
competent judge. I have little doabt that the whole of our coun- 
try will soon be rallied to the unity of the Creator, and, I hope, 
to the piue doctrines of Jesus also. 

In saying to you so much, and without reserve, on a subject 
on which I never permit myself to go before the public, I know 
that I am safe against the infidelities which have so often be- 
trayed my letters to the strictures of those for whom they were 
not written, and to whom I never meant to commit my peace. 
To yourself I wish every happiness, and will conclude, as you 
have done, in the same simple style of antiquity, da operam ut 
valeas ; hoc mihi gratius facere nihil potes. 


HoNTicELLo, Mnrc-h 9, 1821. 

Dear Sir, — I am indebted for your favor of February 25th, 
and especially for your friendly indulgence to my excuses for re- 
tiring from the polemical world. I should not shrink from the 
post of duty, had not the decays of nature withdrawn me from 
the list of combatants. Great decline in the energies of the body 
import naturally a corresponding wane of the mind, and a long- 
ing after tranquillity as the last and sweetest asylum of age. It 
is a law of nature that the generations of men should give way, 
one to another, and I hope that the one now on the stage will 
preserve for their sons the political blessings delivered into their 
hands by their fathers. Time indeed changes manners and no- 
tions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. 


But tiire produces also coiTuption of principles, and against this 
it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the 
gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as 
possible. We see already germs of this, as might be expected. 
But we are not the less bound to press against them. The mul- 
tiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, 
growth and entailment, of a public debt, are indications soliciting 
the employment of the pruning-knife ; and I doubt not it will be 
employed ; good principles being as yet prevalent enough for 

The great object of my fear is the federal judiciary. That 
body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarm- 
ing advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it 
gains, is ingulphing insidiously the special governments into the 
jaws of that which feeds them. The recent recall to first prin- 
ciples, however, by Colonel Taylor, by yourself, and now by 
Alexander Smith, will, I hope, be heard and obeyed, and that a 
temporary cheek will be effected. Yet be not weary of well 
doing. Let the eye of vigilance never be closed. 

Last and most portentous of all is the Missouri question. It is 
smeared over for the present ; but its geographical demarcation is 
indelible. What it is to become, I see not ; and leave to those 
who will live to see it. The University will give employment 
to my remaining years, and quite enough for my senile faculties. 
It is the last act of usefulness I can render, and could I see it 
open I would not ask an hour more of life. To you I hope 
many will still be given ; and, certain they will all be employed 
for the good of our beloved country, I salute you with sentiments 
of especial friendship and respect. 


MoNTiOELLo. June 27, 1821. 
Deab Sir, — I have received through the hands of the Gover- 
aor, Colonel Taylor's letter to you. It is with extreme reluctance 


that I permit myself to usurp the office of an adviser of tlie pub- 
lic, what books they should read, and what not. I yield, how- 
ever, on this occasion to your wish and that of Colonel Taylor, 
and do what (with a single exception only) I never did before, 
on the many similar applications made to me. On reviewiiig 
my letters to Colonel Taylor and to Mr. Thweatt, neither ap- 
peared exactly proper. Each contained matter which might give 
offence to the judges, without adding strength to the opinion. I 
have, therefore, out of the two, cooked up what may be called 
"an extract of a letter from Th: J. to ;" but without say- 
ing it is published with my consent. That would forever deprive 
me of the ground of declining the office of a Reviewer of books 
in future cases. I sincerely wish the attention of the public may 
be drawn to the doctrines of the book ; and if this self-styled 
-extract may contribute to it, I shall be gratified. I salute you 
with constant friendship and respect. 


I have read Colonel Taylor's book of " Constructions Con- 
strued," with great satisfaction, and, I will say, with edification ; 
for I acknowledge it corrected some errors of opinion into which 
I had slidden without sufficient examination. It is Ihe most 
logical retraction of our governments to the original and true 
principles of the constitution creating them, which has appeared 
since the adoption of that instrument. I may not perhaps concur 
in all its opinions, great and small ; for no two men ever thought 
alike on so many points. But on all its important questions, it 
contains the true political faith, to which every catholic repub- 
lican should steadfastly hold. It should be put into the hands 
of all our functionaries, authoritatively, as a standing instruction, 
and true exposition of our Constitution, as understood at the time 
we agreed to it. It is a fatal heresy to suppose that either our 
State governments are superior to the federal, or the federal to 
the States. The people, to whom all authority belongs, have 
divided the powers of government into two distinct departments, 
the leading characters of which are foreign and domestic ; and 


they l.a\t appointed for each a distinct set of fanctiouaries 
These they have made co-ordinate, checking and balancing each 
other, hke the three cardinal departments in the individual 
States: each equally supreme as to the powers delegated to it- 
self, and neither authorized ultimately to decide what belongs to 
itself, or to its coparcenor in government. As independent, in 
tact, as different nations, a spirit of forbearance and compromi.°e, 
therefore, and not of encroachment and usurpation, is the healing 
balm of such a constitution ; and each party should prudently 
shrink from all approach to the line of demarcation, instead of 
rashly overleaping it, or throwing grapples ahead to haul to here- 
after. Bat, finally, the peculiar happiness of our blessed system 
is, that in differences of opinion between these different sets of 
servants, the appeal is to neither, but to their employers peace- 
ably assembled by their representatives in Convention. This is 
more rational than the jus fortioris, or the cannon's mouth, the 
ultima et sola ratio regum. 


iloiNTiuKi.Lo, Atigast It, 1821, 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of the 8th came to hand yesterday 
evening. I hope you will never suppose yom' letters to be among 
those which are troublesome to me. They are always welcome, 
and it is among my great comforts to hear from my ancient col- 
leagues, and to know that they are well. The affectionate recol- 
lection of Mrs. Dearborne, cherished by our family, will ever 
render her health and happiness interesting to them. You are 
so far asteru of Mr. Adams and myself, that you must not yet talk 
of old age. 1 am happy to hear of his good health. I think he 
will outlive us all, I mean the Declaration-men, although our 
senior siuce the death of Colonel Floyd. It is a race in which I 
have no ambition to win. Man, like the fruit he eats, has his 
period of ripeness. Like that, too, if he continues longer hang- 
ing to the stem, it is but au useless and unsightly appendage, i 


rejoice with you that the State of Missouri is at length a membt-i 
of our Union. Whether the question it excited is dead, or only 
sleepeth, I do not know. I see only that it has given resurrec- 
tion to the Hartford convention men. They have had the ad- 
dress, by playing on the honest feelings of our former friends, to 
seduce them from their kindred spirits, and to borrow their weight 
into the federal scale. Desperate of regaining power under po- 
litical distinctions, they have adroitly wriggled into its seat under 
the auspices of morality, and are again in the ascendency from 
which their sins had hurled them. It is indeed of little con- 
sequence who governs us, if they sincerely and zealously cherish 
the principles of union and republicanism. 

I still believe that the Western extension of our confederacy 
will ensure its duration, by overruling local factions, which might 
shake a smaller association. But whatever may be the merit or 
demerit of that acquisition, I divide it with my colleagues, to 
whose councils 1 was indebted for a course of administration 
which, notwithstanding this late coalition of clay and brass, will, 
I hope, continue to receive the approbation of our country. 

The portrait by Stewart was received in due time and good 
order, and claims, for this difficult acquisition, the thanks of the 
family, who join me in affectionate souvenirs of Mrs. Dearborne 
and yourself. My particular salutations to both flow, as ever, 
from the heart, continual and warm. 


Mu.N'iicKj.ut, August 18, 1821. 

SiK, — Your favor of the 7th is just now received. The letter 
to which it refers was written by me with the sole view of rec- 
ommending to the study of my fellow citizens a book which I 
considered as containing more genuine doctrines on the subject 
of our government, and carrying us back more truly to its funda- 
mental principles, than any one which had been written since the 
adoption of our constitution. As confined to this object. I thought, 


and still think, its language as plain and intelligible as I can make 
it. But when we see inspired writings made to speak whatever 
opposite controversialists wish them to say, we cannot ourselves 
expect to find language incapable of similar distortion. My ex- 
pressions were general ; their perversion is in their misapplication 
to a particular case. To test them truly, they should turn to the 
book with whose opinion they profess to coincide. If the book 
establishes that a State has no right to tax the monied property 
within its limits, or that it can be called, as a party, to the bar 
of the federal judiciary, then they may infer that -these are my 
Dpinions. If no such doctrines are there, my letter does not au- 
thorize their imputation to me. 

It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never 
shrunk from its expression, (although I do not choose to put it 
into a newspaper, nor, like a Priam in armor, offer myself its 
champion,) that the germ of dissolution of our federal govern- 
ment is in the constitution of the federal judiciary; an irresponsi- 
ble body, (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow,) working 
like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little to-day and a 
little to-morrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, 
over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the 
States, and the government of all be consolidated into one. To 
this I am opposed ; because, when all government, domestic and 
foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washing- 
ton as the centre of ail power, it will render powerless the checks 
provided of one government on another, and will become as 
venal and oppressive as the government from which we separat- 
ed. It will be as in Europe, where every man must be eithei 
pike or gudgeon, hammer or anvil. Our functionaries and theirs 
are wares from the same work-shop ; made of the same materials, 
and by the same hand. If the States look with apathy on this 
silent descent of their government into the gulf/ which is to 
swallow all, we have only to weep over the human character 
formed uncoutrolable but by a rod of iron, and the blasphemers 
of man, as incapable of self-government, become his true histo- 


But let me beseech yon, Sir, not to let this letter get into a 
newspaper. Tranquillity, at my age, is the supreme good of life. 
I think it a duty, and it is my earnest wish, to take no further 
part in public affairs ; to leave them to the existing generation to 
whose turn they have fallen, and to resign the remains of a de- 
caying body and mind to their protection. The abuse of confi- 
dence by publishing my letters has cost me more than all other 
pains, and make me afraid to put pen to paper in a letter of sen- 
timent. If I have done it frankly in answer to your letter, it is 
in full trust that I shall not be thrown by you into the arena of 
a newspaper. I salute you with great respect. 


MoNTicELLo, September 12, 1821. 

Dear Sir, — I am just returned from my other home, and shall 
within a week go back to it for the rest of the autumn. I find 
here your favor of August 20th, and was before in arrear for that 
of May 19th. I cannot answer, but join in, your question of May 
19th. Are we to surrender the pleasing hopes of seeing improve- 
ment in the moral and intellectual condition of man ? The 
events of Naples and Piedmont cast a gloomy cloud over that 
hope, and Spain and Portugal are not beyond jeopardy. And 
what are we to think of this northern triumvirate, arming their 
nations to dictate despotisms to the rest of the world ? And the 
evident connivance of England, as the price of secret stipulations 
for contiqental armies, if her own should take side with her mal- 
content and pulverized people ? And what of the poor Greeks, 
and their small chance of amelioration even if the hypocritical 
Autocrat should take them under the iron cover of his Ukazes 
Would this be lighter or safer than that of the Turk ? These, 
my dear friend, are speculations for the new generation, as, 
before they will be resolved, you and I must join our deceased 
brother Floyd. Yet I will not believe our labors are lost, i 
shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on steady 


advance. We have seen, indeed, once within the records of his- 
tory, a complete eclipse of the human mind continuing for centu- 
ries. And this, too, by swarms of the same northern barbarians, 
conquering and taking possession of the countries and govern- 
ments of the civilized world. Should this be again attempted, 
should the same northern hordes, allured again by the corn, wine, 
and oil of the south, be able again to settle their swarms in the 
countries of their growth, the art of printing alone, and the vast 
dissemination of books, will maintain the mind where it is, and 
raise the conquering ruffians to the level of the conquered, in- 
stead of degrading these to that of their conquerors. And even 
should the cloud of barbarism and despotism again obscure the 
science and liberties of Europe, this country remains to preserve 
and restore light and liberty to them. In short, the flames kindled 
on the 4th of July, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe 
to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism ; on the con- 
trary, they will consume these engines and all who work them. 

I think with you that there should be a school of instruction 
for our navy as well as artillery ; and I do not see why the same 
establishment might not suffice for both. Both require the same 
basis of general mathematics, adding projectiles and fortiiications 
for the artillery exclusively, and astronomy and theory of naviga- 
tion exclusively for the naval students. Berout conducted both 
schools in France, and has left us the best book extant for their 
joint and separate instruction. It ought not to require a sepa- 
rate professor. 

A 4th of July oration delivered in the town of Milford, in your 
State, gives to Samuel Chase the credit of having " iirst started 
the cry of independence in the ears of his countrymen." Do you 
remember anything of this ? I do not. I have no doubt it was 
uttered in Massachusetts even before it was by Thomas Paine. 
But certainly I never considered Samuel Chase as foremost, or 
even forward in that hallowed cry. I know that Maryland hung 
Vieavily on our backs, and that Chase, although first named, was 
not most in unison with us of that delegation, either in politics 
or morals, d c^est ainsi que Von ecrit Vhistoire ! 


Your doubt of the legilimacj' of the word gloriola, is resolved 
by Cicero, who, in his letter to Lucceius expresses a wish "wi 
nos inetipsi vivi gloriola nostra perfruamur.^^ Affectionately 


Monti ziLLu, September i'4, 1S21, 

Dear Sik, — I thank you for your favor of the 12th instant. 
Hope springs eternal. Eight millions of Jews hope for a Messiah 
more powerful and glorious than Moses, David, or Solomon ; 
who is to make them as powerful as he pleases. Some hundreds 
of millions of Musslemen expect another prophet more powerful 
than Mahomet, who is to spread Islamism over the whole earth. 
Hundreds of millions of Christians expect and hope for a millen- 
nium in which Jesus is to reign for a thousand years over the 
whole world before it is burnt up. The Hindoos expect another 
and final incarnation of Vishnu, who is to do great and wonder- 
ful things, I know not what. All these hopes are founded on 
real or pretended revelation. The modern Greeks, too, it seems, 
hope for a deliverer who is to produce them — the Themisto- 
cleses and Demostheneses — the Platos and Aristotles — the Solons 
and Lycurguses. On what prophecies they found their belief, 
1 know not. You and I hope for splendid improvements in 
human society, and vast amelioration in the condition of man- 
kind. Our faith may be supposed by more rational arguments 
than any of the former, I own that I am very sanguine in the 
belief of them, as I hope and believe you are, and your reasoning 
in your letter confirmed me in them. 

As Brother Floyd has gone, I am now the oldest of the little 
Congressional group that remain. I may therefore rationally 
hope to be the fii-st to depart ; and as you are the youngest and 
most energetic in mind and body, you may therefore rationally 
hope to be the last to take your flight, and to rake up the fire as 
father Sherman, who always staid to the last, and commonly 
two days afterwards, used to say, " that it was his office to sit up 


and rake the ashes over the coals." And much satisfaction ma3f 
you have in your ofRce. 

The cholera morbus has done wonders in St. Helena and in 
London. We shall soon hear of a negotiation for a second wife. 
Whether in the body, or out of the body, I shall always be your 

The anecdote of Mr. Chase, contained in the oration delivered 
at Milford, must be an idle rumor, for neither the State of Mary- 
land, nor of their delegates, were very early in their conviction 
of the necessity of independence, nor very forward in promoting 
it. The old speaker Tilghman, Johnson, Chase, and Paca, were 
steady in promoting resistance, but after some of them, Maryland 
sent one, at least, of the most turbulent Tories that ever came to 

TO . 

MoNricKLLo, September 28, 1821. 

Sir, — The government of the United States, at a very early 
period, when establishing its tariff on foreign importations, were 
very much guided in their selection of objects by a desire to en- 
courage manufactures within ourselves. Among other articles 
then selected were books, on the importation of which a duty of 
fifteen per cent, was imposed, which, by ordinary custom house 
charges, amount to about eighteen per cent., and adding the im- 
porting booksellers profit on this, becomes about twenty-seven 
per cent. This was useful at first, perhaps, towards exciting our 
printers to make a beginning in that business here. But it is 
fouad in experience that the home demand is not sufficient to 
justify the re-printing any but the most popular English works, 
and cheap editions of a few of the classics for schools. For the 
editions of value, enriched by notes, commentaries, &c., and for 
books in foreign living languages, the demand here is too small 
and sparse to reimburse the expense of re-printing them. None 
of these, therefore, are printed here, and the duty on them be- 
comes consequently not a protecting, but really a prohibitory^ one 


It makes a very serious addition to the price of the book, and 
falls chiefly on a description of persons little able to meet it. 
Students who are destined for professional callings, as most of 
our scholars are, are barely able for the most part to meet the ex- 
penses of tuition. The addition of eighteen or twenty-seven per 
cent, on the books necessary for their instruction, amounts often 
to a prohibition as to them. For want of these aids, which are 
open to the students of all other nations but our own, they enter 
on their course on a very unequal footing with those of the same 
professions in foreign countries, and our citizens at large, too, 
who employ them, do not derive from that employment all the 
benefit which higher qualifiations would give them. It is true 
that no duty is required on books imported for seminaries o. 
learning, but these, locked up in libraries, can be of no avail to 
the practical man when he wishes a recm-rence to them for the 
uses of life. Of many important books of reference there is not 
perhaps a single copy in the United States ; of others but a few, 
and these too distant often to be accessible to scholars generally. 
It is believed, therefore, that if the attention of Congress could 
be drawn to this article, they would, in their wisdom, see its im- 
policy. Science is more important in a republican than in any 
other government. And in an infant country like ours, we must 
much depend for improvement on the science of other countries, 
longer established, possessing better means, and more advanced 
than we are. To prohibit us from the benefit of foreign light, 
is to consign us to long darkness. 

The northern seminaries following with parental solicitude the 
interests of their eleves in the course for which they have pre- 
pared them, propose to petition Congress on this subject, and 
wish for the cooperation of those of the south and west, and I 
have been requested, as more convenient in position than they 
are, to solicit that cooperation. Having no personal acquaintance ■ 
with those who are charged with the direction of the college of 
J I do not know how more eflfectually to communi- 
cate these views to them, than by availing myself of the knowl- 
edge I have of your zeal for the happiness and improvement of 


our country. I take the liberty, therefore, of requesting you to 
place the subject before the proper authorities of that institution, 
and if they approve the measure, to solicit a concurrent proceed- 
ing on their part to carry it into effect. Besides petitioning Con- 
gress, I Nwould propose that ihey address in their corporate capac- 
ity, a letter to their delegates and senators in Congress, soliciting 
their best endeavors to obtain the repeal of the duty on imported 
books. I cannot but suppose that such an application will be re- 
spected by them, and will engage their votes and endeavors to 
effect an object so reasonable. A conviction that science is im- 
portant to the preservation of our republican government, and 
that it is also essential to its protection against foreign power, in- 
duces me, on this occasion, to step beyond the limits of that re- 
tirement to which age and inclination equally dispose me, and I 
am without a doubt that the same considerations will induce you 
to excuse-the trouble I propose to you, and that you will kindly 
accept the assurance of my high respect and esteem. 


MoNTfCELLO, November 23, 1821. 

Deae Sir, — Absence at an occasional but distant residence, 
prevented my receiving your friendly letter of October 20th till 
three days ago. A line from my good old friends is like balm to 
my soul. You ask me what you are to do with my letter of 
September 19th ? I wrote it, my dear Sir, with no other view 
than to pour my thoughts into your bosom. I knew they would 
be safe there, and I believed they would be welcome. But if 
you think, as you say, that " good may be done by showing it to 
a few well-tried friends" I have no objection to that, but ulti- 
mately you cannot do better than to throw it into the fire. 

My confidence, as you kindly observed, has been often abused 
by the publication of my letters for the purposes of interest or 
vanity, and it has been to me the source of much pain to be ex- 
hibited before the public in forms not meant for them. I receive 

00REE8P0NDENCE. 223 

letters expressed in the most friendly and even affectionate terms, 
sometimes, perhaps, asking my'opinion on some subject. I can- 
not refuse to answer such letters, nor can I do it dryly and sus- 
piciously. Among a score or two of such correspondents, one 
perhaps betrays me. I feel it mortifyingly, but conclude I had 
better incur one treachery than offend a score or two of good 
people. I sometimes expressly desire that my letter may not be 
published ; but this is so like requesting a man not to steal or 
cheat, that I am ashamed of it after I have done it. 

Our government is now taking so steady a course as to show 
by what road it will pass to destruction, to-wit : by consolida- 
tion first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence. The 
engine of consolidation will be the federal judiciary ; the two 
other branches, the corrupting and corrupted instruments. I fear 
an explosion in our State Legislature. I wish they may restrain 
themselves to a strong but temperate protestation. Virginia is 
not at present in favor with her co-States. An opposition headed 
by her would determine all the anti-Missouri States to take the 
contrary side. She had better lie by, therefore, till the shoe shall 
pinch an eastern State. Let the cry be first raised from that 
quarter, and we may fall into it with effect. But I fear our east- 
ern associates wish for consolidation, in which they would be 
joined by the smaller States generally. But, with one foot in 
the grave, I have no right to meddle with these things. Ever 
and affectionately yours. 

TO . 

iloNTicKLLo, November 29, 1 821. 

Deah Sih, — You have often gratified me by your astronomi- 
cal communications, and I am now about to amuse you with one 
of mine. But I must first explain the circumstances which have 
drawn me into a speculation so foreign to the path of life which 
the times in which I have lived, more than my own incliuatioos 
have led me to pm-sue. 


I had long deemed it incumbent on the authorities of our 
country, to have the great western wilderness beyond the Mis- 
sissippi, explored, to make known its geography, its natural pro- 
ductions, its general character and inhabitants. Two attempts 
which I had myself made formerly, before the country was ours, 
the one from west to east, the other from east to west, had both 
proved abortive. When called to the administration of the gen- 
eral government, I made this an object of early attention, and pro- 
posed it to Congress. They voted a sum of five thousand dollars 
for its execution, and I placed Captain Lewis at the head of the 
enterprise' No man within the range of my acquaintance, united 
so manj -jf the qualifications necessary for its successful directiori. 
But he had not received such an astronomical education as might 
enable him to give us the geography of the country with the 
precision desired. The Missouri and Columbia, which were to 
constitute the tract of his journey, were rivers which varied little 
in their progressive latitudes, but changed their longitudes rapidly 
and at every step. To qualify him for making these observa- 
tions, so important to the value of the enterprise, I encouraged 
him to apply himself to this particular object, and gave him 
letters to Doctor Patterson and Mr. Ellicott, requesting them to in- 
struct him in the necessary processes. Those for the longitude 
would of course be founded on the lunar distances. But as these 
require essentially the aid of a time-keeper, it occurred to me that 
during a journey of two, three, or four years, exposed to so many 
accidents as himself and the instrument would be, we might ex- 
pect with certainty that it would become deranged, and in a 
desert country where it could not be repaired. I thought it then 
highly important that some means of observation should be fur- 
nished him, if any could be, which should be practicable aud 
competejit to ascertain his longitudes in that event. The equa- 
torial occurred to myself as the most promising substitute. I ob- 
served only that Ramsden, in his explanation of its uses, and 
particularly that of finding the longitude at land, still required 
his observer to have the aid of a time-keeper. But this cannot 
be necessary, for the margin of the equatorial circle of this in- 


strument being divided into time by bonrs, minutes, and seconds, 
supplies the main functions of the time-keeper, and for measur- 
ing merely the interval of the observations, is such as not to be 
neglected. A portable pendulum, for counting, by an assistant. 
would fully answer that purpose. I suggested my fears to sev- 
eral of our best astronomical friends, and my wishes that other 
processes should be furnished him, if any could be, which might 
guard us ultimately from disappointment. Several other methods 
were proposed, but all requiring the use of a time-keeper. That 
of the equatorial being recommended by none, and other duties 
refusing me time for protracted consultations, I relinquished the 
idea for that occasion. But, if a sound one, it should not be 
abandoned. Those deserts are yet to be explored, and their ge- 
ography given tQ the world and ourselves with a correctness 
worthy of the science of the age. The acquisition of the coun- 
try before Captain Lewis' departure facilitated our enterprise, but 
his time-keeper failed early in his journey. His dependence, 
then, was on the compass and log-line, with the correction of lat- 
itudes only ; and the true longitudes of the different points of the 
Missouri, of the Stony Mountains, the Columbia and Pacific, at 
its mouth, remain yet to be obtained by future enterprise. 

The circumstance which occasions a recurrence of the subject 
to my mind at this time particularly is this : our legislature, some 
time ago, came to a determination that an accurate map should 
be made of our State. The late John Wood was employed on 
it. Its first elements are prepared by maps of the several coun- 
ties. But these have been made by chain and compass only, 
which suppose the surface of the earth to be a plane. To fit 
them together, they must be accommodated to its real spherical 
surface ; and this can be done only by observations of latitude 
and longitude, taken at different points of the area to which 
they are to be reduced. It is true that in the lower and more 
populous parts of the State, the method of lunar distances by the 
circle or sextant, and time-keeper, may be used ; because those 
parts furnish means of repairing or replacing a deranged time- 
keeper, But the* deserts beyond the Alleghany are as destitute 
VOL. vii. 1-5 


of resource in that case, as those of the Missouri. The question 
then recurs whether the equatorial, without the auxihary of a 
time-keeper, is not competent to the ascertainment of longitudes 
at land, where a fixed meridian can always be obtained ? and 
whether indeed it may not everywhere at land, be a readier and 
preferable instrument for that purpose ? To these questions [ 
ask your attentions ; and to show the grounds on which I enter- 
tain the opinion myself, I will briefly explain the principles of 
the process, and the peculiarities of the instrument which give it 
the competence I ascribe to it. And should you concur in the 
opinion, I will further ask you to notice any particular circum- 
stances claiming attention in the process, and the corrections 
which the observations may necessarily require. As to myself, 
I am an astronomer of theory only, little versed in practical ob- 
servations, and the minute attentions and corrections they require. 
I proceed now to the explanation. 

A method of finding the longitude of a place at land, imthout 
a time-keeper. 

If two persons, at different points of the same hemisphere, (as 
Greenwich and Washington, for example,) observe the same ce- 
lestial phenomenon, at the same instant of time, the difference of 
the times marked by their respective clocks is the difference of 
their longitudes, or the distance between their meridians. To 
catch with precision the same instant of time for these simul- 
taneous observations, the moon's motion in her orbit is the best 
element ; her change of place (about a half second of space in 
a second of time) is rapid enough to be ascertained by a good 
instrument with sufficient precision for the object. But suppose 
the observer at Washington, or in a desert, to be without a time- 
keeper ; the equatorial is the instrument to be used in that case. 
Again, we have supposed a cotemporaneous observer at Green- 
wich. But his functions may be supplied by the nautical al- 
manac, adapted to that place, and enabling us to calculate for 
any instant of time the meridian distances there of the heavenly 
bodies necessary to be observed for this purpose. 

The observer at Washington, choosing the time when theii 


position is suitable, is to adjust his equatorial to his meridian, to 
his latitude, and to the plane of his horizon ; or if he is in a 
desert where neither meridian nor latitude is yet ascertained, the 
advantages of this noble instrument are, that it enables him to 
find both in the course of a few hom-s. Thus prepared, let him 
ascertain by observation the right ascension of the moon from 
that of a known star, or their horary distance ; and, at the same 
instant, her horary distance from his meridian. Her right ascen- 
sion at the instant thus ascertained, enter with that of the nautical 
almanac, and calculate, by its tables, what was her horary dis- 
tance from the meridian of Greenwich at the instant she had at- 
tained that point of right ascension, or that horary distance from 
the same star. The addition of these meridian distances, if the 
moon was between the two meridians, or the subtraction of the 
lesser from the greater, if she was on the same side of both, is 
the differences of their longitudes. 

This general theory admits different cases, of which the ob- 
server may avail himself, according to the particular position of 
the heavenly bodies at the moment of observation. 

Case 1st. When the moon is on his meridian, or on that of 

Second. When the star is on either meridian. 

Third. When the moon and star are on the same side of his 

Fourth. When they are on different sides. 

For instantaneousness of observation, the equatorial has great 
advantage over the circle or sextant ; for being truly placed in 
the meridian beforehand, the telescope may be directed suf- 
ficiently in advance of the moon's motion, for time to note its 
place on the equatorial circle, before she attains that point. Then 
observe, until her limb touches the cross-hairs ; and in that in- 
stant direct the telescope to the star ; that completes the observa- 
tion, and the place of the star mxay be read at leisure. The ap- 
paratus for correcting the effects of refraction and parallax, which 
is fixed on the eye-tube of the telescope, saves time by render- 


ing the notation of altitudes unnecessary, and dispenses with the 
use of either a time-keeper or portable pendulum. 

I have observed that, if placed in a desert where neither me- 
ridian nor latitude is yet ascertained, the equatorial enables the 
observer to find both in a few hours. For the latitude, adjust 
by the cross-levels the azimuth plane of the instrument to the 
horizon of the place. Bring down the equatorial plane to an ex- 
act parallelism with it, its pole then becoming vertical. By the 
nut and pinion commanding it, and by that of the semi-circle of 
declination, direct the telescope to the sun. Follow its path 
with the telescope by the combined use of these two pinions, 
and when it has attained its greatest altitude, calculate the lati- 
tude as when taken by a sextant. 

For finding the meridian, set the azimuth circle to the hori- 
zon, elevate the equatorial circle to the complement of the lati- 
tude, and fix it by the clamp and tightening screw of the two 
brass segments of arches below. By the declination semicircle 
set the telescope to the sun's declination of the moment. Turn 
the instrument towards the meridian by guess, and by the com- 
bined movement of the equatorial and azimuth circles direct the 
telescope to the sun, then by the pinion of the equatorial alone, 
follow the path of the sun with the telescope. If it swerves from 
that path, turn the azimuth circle until it shall follow the sun ac- 
curately. A distant stake or tree should mark the meridian, to 
guard against its loss by any accidental jostle of the instrument. 
The 12 o'clock line will then be in the true meridian, and the 
axis of the equatorial circle will be parallel with that of the earth. 
The instrument is then in its true position for the observations 
of the night. To the competence and the advantages of this 
method, I will only add that these instruments are high-priced. 
Mine cost thirty-five guineas in Ramsden's shop, a little before 
the Revolution. I will lengthen my letter, already too long, only 
by assurances of my great esteem and respect. 



JIdntioei.i.o, Decemler 11, 1821 

Dear Sir, — Your letter of December the 19th places me un- 
der a dilemma, which I cannot solve but by an exposition of the 
naked truth. I would have wished this rather to have remained 
as hitherto, w jhout inquiry ; but your inquiries have a right to 
be answered. I will do it as exactly as the great lapse of time 
and a waning memory will enable me. I may misremember in- 
different circumstances, but can be right in substance. 

At the time when the republicans of our country were so much 
alarmed at the proceedings of the federal ascendency in Congress, 
in the executive and the judiciary departments, it became a mat- 
ter of serious consideration how head could be made against 
their enterprises on the constitution. The leading republicans in 
Congress found themselves of no use there, brow-beaten, as they 
were, by a bold and overwhelming majority. They concluded 
to retire from that field, take a stand in the State legislatures, 
and endeavor there to arrest their progress. The alien and sedi- 
tion laws furnished the particular occasion. The sympathy be- 
tween Virginia and Kentucky was more cordial, and more inti- 
mately confidential, than between any other two States of repub- 
lican policy. Mr. Madison came into the Virginia legislature. I 
was then in the Vice-Presidency, and could not leave my station. 
But your father, Colonel W. C. Nicholas, and myself happening 
to be together, the engaging the co-operation of Kentucky in an 
energetic protestation against the constitutionality of those laws, 
became a subject of consultation. Those gentlemen pressed me 
strongly to sketch resolutions for that purpose, your father under- 
taking to introduce them to that legislature, with a solemn as- 
surance, which I strictly required, that it should not be known 
from what quarter they came. I drew and delivered them to 
him, and in keeping their origin secret, he fulfilled his pledge of 
honor. Some years after this, Colonel Nicholas asked me if 1 
would have any objection to its being known that I had drawn 
them. I pointedly enjoined that it should not. Whether he had 


uugua.'dedly intimated it before to any one, I know not; but I 
afterwards observed in the papers repeated imputations of them 
to me ; on which, as has been my practice on all occasions of 
imputation, I have observed entire silence. The question, in- 
deed, has never before been put to me, nor should I answer it to 
any other than yourself; seeing no good end to be proposed by 
it, and the desire of tranquillity inducing with me a wish to be 
■vithdrawn from public notice. Your father's zeal and talents 
were too well known, to derive any additional distinction from 
the penning these resolutions. That circumstance, surely, was 
of far less merit than the proposing and carrying them through 
the legislature of his State. The only fact in- this statement, on 
which my memory is not distinct, is the time and occasion of 
the consultation with your father and Colonel Nicholas. It took 
place here I know ; but whether any other person was present, 
or communicated with, is my doubt. I think Mr. Madison was 
either with us, or consulted, but my memory is uncertain as to 
minute details. 

I fear, dear Sir, we are now in such another crisis, with this 
difference only, that the judiciary branch is alone and single 
handed in the present assaults on the constitution. But its as- 
saults are more sure and deadly, as from an agent seemingly pas- 
sive and unassuming. May you and your cotemporaries meet 
them with the same determination and effect, as your father and 
his did the alien and sedition laws, and preserve inviolate a con- 
stitution, which, cherished in all its chastity and purity, will prove 
in the end a blessing to all the nations of the earth. With these 
prayers, accept those for your own happiness and prosperity. 


MoN'nriii.i.u, Febnmry 27, 1822. 

Gentlemen, — I have received your favor of the 18th, and am 
duly sensible of the honor done my name by its association with 
the institution formed in yoLU college for improvement in the art 


of speaking. The efforts of the members will, I trust, give a 
just reputation to the society and reflect on its name the honoi 
which it cannot derive from it. In a country and government 
like ours, eloquence is a powerful instrument, well worthy of the. 
special pursuit of our youth. Models, indeed, of chaste and clas- 
sical oratory are truly too rare with us ; nor do I recollect any re- 
markable in England. Among the ancients the most perfect 
specimens are perhaps to be found in Livy, Sallust and Tacitus. 
Their pith and brevity constitute perfection itself for an audience 
of sages, on whom froth and fancy would be lost in air. But in 
ordinary cases, and with us particularly, more development is 
necessary. For senatorial eloquence, Demosthenes is the finest 
model ; for the bar, Cicero. The former had more logic, the 
latter more imagination. 

Of the eloquence of the pen we have fine samples in English. 
Robertson, Sterne, Addison, are of the first merit in the diflerenl 
characters of composition. Hume, in the circumstance of style 
is equal to any ; but his tory principles spread a cloud over his 
many and great excellencies. The charms of his style and mat- 
ter have made tories of all England, and doubtful republicans 

You say that any advice which I could give you would be ac- 
ceptable. But, for this, you cannot be in better hands than of 
the worthy professors of your own college. Their counsels 
would, I am sure, embrace everything I could ofler. It will not, 
however, be a work of mere supereorgation if it will gratify you, 
and will furnish a stronger proof of my desire to encourage you 
in your laudable dispositions. Some thirty-six or thirty-seven 
years ago, I had a nephew, the late Peter Carr, whose education 
I directed, and had much at heart his future fortunes. Residing 
abroad at the time in public service, my counsels to him were 
necessarily communicated by letters. Searching among my papers 
I find a letter written to him, and conveying such advice as I 
thought suitable to the particular period of his age and educa- 
tion. He was then about fifteen, and had made some progress 
in classical reading. As your present situation may be somewhat 


similar, you may find in that letter some thnjgs worth remember- 
ing. I enclose you a copy therefore. It was written in haste, un- 
der the pressure of official labors, and with no view of being 
ever seen but by himself. It might otherwise have been made 
more correct in style and matter. But such as it is, I place it at 
your service, and pray you to receive it merely as a compliance 
with your own request, and as a proof of my good will and of 
my best wishes for your success in the career of life for which 
you are so worthily and laudably preparing yourselves. 


MoNTfCKLLO, March 2, 1822. 

I am thankful to you. Sir, for the very edifying view of Eu- 
rope which you have been so kind as to send me. Tossed at 
random by the newspapers on an ocean of uncertainties and false- 
hoods, it is joyful at times to catch the glimmering of a beacon 
which shows us truly where we are. De Pradt's Europe had 
some effect in this way ; but the less as the author was less known 
in character. The views presented by your brother unite our 
confidence with the soundness of his observation and informa- 
tion. I have read the work with great avidity and profit, and 
have found my ideas of Europe in general, rallied by it to points 
of good satisfaction. In the single chapter on England only, 
where his theories are new, if we cannot suddenly give up all 
our old notions, he furnishes us abundant matter for reflection 
and a revisal of them. I have long considered the present crisis 
of England, and the origin of the evils which are lowering over 
her, as produced by enormous excess of her expenditures beyond 
her income. To pay even the interest of the debt contracted, 
she is obliged to take from the industrious so much of their earn- 
mgs, as not to leave enough for their backs and bellies They 
are daily, therefore, passing over to the pauper-list, to subfist on 
the declining means of those still holding up, and when these 
also shall be exhausted, what next ? Reformation cannot remedy 


this. It could only prevent its recurrence when once relieved 
from the debt. To effect that relief I see but one possible and 
just course. Considering the funded and real property as equal, 
and the debt as much of the one as the other, for the holder 
of property to give up one-half to those of the funds, and the 
latter to the nation the whole of what it owes them. But this 
the nature of man forbids us to expect without blows, and blows 
will decide it by a promiscuous sacrifice of life and property. 
The debt thus, or otherwise, extinguished, a rtal representation 
introduced into the government of either property or people, or 
of both, renouncing eternal war, restraining future expenses to 
future income, and breaking up forever the consuming circle of 
extravagance, debt, insolvency, and revolution, the island would 
then again be in the degree of force which nature has measured 
out to it, of respectable station in the scale of nations, but not at 
their head. I sincerely wish she could peaceably get into this 
state of being, as the present prospects of southern Europe seem 
to need the acquisition of new weights in their balance, rather 
than the loss of old ones. I set additional value on this volume, 
inasmuch as it has procured me the occasion of expressing to you 
my high estimation of your character, the interest with which I 
look to it as an American, and the great esteem and respect with 
which I beg leave to salute you. 


MoxTiuKLLii, M:irdi 6, IS22. 

SiE, — I have duly received your letter of February the 16th, 
and have now to express ^my sense of the honorable station pro- 
posed to my ex-brethren and myself, in the constitution of the 
society for the civilization and improvement of the Indian triljes. 
The object too expressed, as that of the association, is one which 
I have ever had much at heart, and never omitted an occasion 
of promoting while I have been in situations to do it with effect, 
and nothing, even now, in the calm of age and retirement, would 


excite in me a more lively interest than an approvable plau of 
raising that respectable and unfortunate people from the state of 
physical and moral abjection, to which they have been reduced 
by circiunstances foreign to them. That the plan now proposed 
is entitled to unmixed approbation, I am not prepared to say, after 
mature consideration, and with all the partialities which its pro- 
fessed object would rightfully claim from me. 

I shall not undertake to draw the line of demarcation be- 
tween private associations of laudable views and unimposing 
numbers, and those whose magnitude may rivalize and jeopard- 
ize the march of regular government. Yet such a line does exist. 
I, have seen the days, they were those which preceded the revo- 
lution, when even this last and perilous .engine became neces- 
sary ; bat they were days which no man would wish to see a sec^ 
ond time. That was the case where the regular authorities of 
the government had combined against the rights of the people, 
and no means of correction remained to them but to organize a 
collateral power, which, with their support, might rescue and se- 
cure their violated rights. But such is not the case with our 
government. We need hazard no collateral power, which, by a 
change of its original views, and assumption of others we know 
not how virtuous or how mischievous, would be ready organized 
and in force sutRcient to shake the established foundations of so- 
ciety, and endanger its peace and the principles on which it is 
based. Is not the machine now proposed of this gigantic stature ? 
It is to consist of the ex-Presidents of the United States, the Vice 
President, the Heads of all the executive departments, the mem- 
bers of the supreme judiciary, the Governors of the several States 
and territories, all the members of both Houses of Congress, all 
the general officers of the army, the commissioners of the navy, 
all Presidents and Professors of colleges and theological semina- 
ries, all the clergy of the United States, the Presidents and Sec- 
retaries of all associations having relation to Indians, all com- 
manding officers within or near Indian territories, all Indian su- 
perintendents and agents ; all these ex- officio ; and as many pri- 
vate individuals as will pay a certain price for membership. Ob- 


serve, too, that the clergy will constitute* nineteen twentieths of 
this association, and, by the law of the majority, may command 
the twentieth part, which, composed of all the high authorities 
of the United States, civil and military, may be outvoted and 
wielded by the nineteen parts with uncontrollable power, both 
as to purpose and process. Can this formidable array be revie wed 
without dismay ? It will be said, that in this association will be 
all the confidential officers of the government : the choice of the 
people themselves. No man on earth has more im])licit confi- 
dence than myself in the integrity and discretion of this chosen 
band of servants. But is confidence or discretion, or is strict 
limit, the principle of our constitution ? It will comprehend, in- 
deed, all the functionaries of the government ; but seceded from 
their constitutional stations as guardians of the nation, and acting 
not by the laws of their station, but by those of a voluntary so- 
ciety, having no limit to their purposes but the same will which 
constitutes their existence. It will be the authorities of the peo- 
ple and all infl.uential characters from among them, arrayed on 
one side, and on the other, the people themselves deserted by 
their leaders. It is a fearful array. It will be said that these are 
imaginary fears. I know they are so at present. I know it is as 
impossible for these agents of our choice and unbounded confi- 
dence, to harbor machinations against the adored principles of 
our constitution, as for gravity to change its direction, and gravid 
bodies to mount upwards. The fears are indeed imaginary, but 
the example is real. Under its authority, as a precedent, future 
associations will arise with objects at which we should shudder 
at this time. The society of Jacobins, in another country, was 
instituted on principles and views as virtuous as ever kindled the 
hearts of patriots. It was the pure patriotism of their purposes 
which extended their association to the limits of the nation, and 
rendered their power within it boundless ; and it was this powei 
which degenerated their principles and practices to such enor- 

* The clergy of the United States may probably be estimated at eight thou- 
sand. The residue of this society at four hundred; but if the former number 
be halved, the reasoning will be the same. 


mities as never before could have been imagined. Yet these 
were men, and we and oin* descendants will be no more. The 
present is a case where, if ever, we are to guard against ourselves ; 
not against ourselves as we are, but as we may be ; for who can 
now imagine what we may become under circumstances not now 
imaginable ? The object of this institution, seems to require so 
hazardous an example as little as any which could be proposed. 
The government is, at this time, going on with the process of 
civilizing the Indians, on a plan probably as promising as any 
one of us is able to devise, and with resources more competent 
than we could expect to command by voluntary taxation. Is it 
that the new characters called into association with those of the 
government, are wiser than these ? Is it that a plan originated 
by a meeting of private individuals is better than that prepared by 
the concentrated wisdom of the nation, of men not self-chosen, 
but clothed with the full confidence of the people ? Is it that 
there is no danger that a new authority, marching, independently, 
along side of the government, in the same line and to the same 
object, may not produce collision, may not thwart and obstruct 
the operations of the government, or wrest the object entirely 
from their hands ? Might wc not as well appoint a committee 
for each department of the government, to counsel and direct its 
head separately, as volunteer ourselves to counsel and direct the 
whole, in mass ? And might we not do it as well for their for- 
eign, their fiscal, and their military, as for their Indian affairs ? 
And how many societies, auxiliary to the government, may we 
expect to see spring up, in imitation of this, offering to associate 
themselves in this and that of its functions ? In a word, why 
not take the government out of its constitutional hands, associate 
them indeed with us, to preserve a semblance that the acts are 
theirs, but insuring them to be our own by allowing them a 
minor vote only. 

These considerations have impressed my mind with a force so 
irresistible, that (in duty bound to answer your polite letter, 
without which I should not have obtruded an opinion) I have 
not been able to withhold the expression of them. Not know- 


irig the individuals who have proposed this plan, I cannot be con- 
ceived as entertaining personal disrespect for them. On the con- 
trary, I see in the printed list persons for whom [ cherish senti- 
ments of sincere friendship, and others, for whose opinions and 
purity of purpose I have the highest respect. Yet thinking as 1 
do, that this association is unnecessary ; that the government is 
proceeding to the same object under control of the law ; that 
they are competent to it in wisdom, in means, and inclinatioii ; 
that this association, this wheel within a wheel, is more likely to 
produce collision than aid ; and that it is, in its magnitude, of 
dangerous example ; I am bound to say, that, as a dutifid citizen, 
I cannot in conscience become a member of this society, possess- 
ing as it does my entire confidence in the integrity of its views. 
I feel with awe the weight of opinion to which I may be op- 
posed, and that, for myself, I have need to ask the indulgence of 
a belief that the opinion I have given is the best result I can de- 
duce from my own reason and experience, and that it is sincerely 
conscientious. Repeating, therefore, my just acknowledgments 
for the honor proposed to me, I beg leave to add the assurances 
to the 'society and yourself of my highest confi.dence and con- 


MoNTiCKLLo, Api-il 9, 1S22. 

Dear General, — Your favor of March 28th was received on 
the 7th instant. We failed in having a quorum on the 1st. Mr. 
Johnson and General Taylor were laboring for Lithgow in Rich- 
mond, and Mr. Madison was unwell. On the score of business 
it was immaterial, as there was not a single measure to be pro- 
posed. The loss was of the gratification of meeting in society 
with those whom we esteem. This is the valuable effect of our 
semi-annual meetings, jubilees, in fact, for feasting the mind and 
fostering the best affections of the heart towards those who merit 

The four rows of buildings of accommodation are so nearly 


completed^ that they are certain of being entirely so in the course 
of the summer ; and our funds, as you have seen stated in our 
last Report, are sufficient to meet the expense, except that the 
delays in collecting the arrears of subscriptions oblige us to bor- 
row temporarily from this year's annuity, which, according to 
that Report, had another destination. These buildings done, 
■we are to rest on our oars, and passively await the will of the 
legislature. Our future course is a plain one. We have pro- 
ceeded from the beginning on the sound determination to finish 
the buildings before opening the institution ; because, once 
opened, all its funds will be absorbed by professors' salaries, &c., 
and nothing remain ever to finish the buildings. And we have 
thought it better to begin two or three years later, in the full ex- 
tent proposed, than to open, and go on forever, with a half-way 
establishment. Of the wisdom of this proceeding, and of its greater 
good to the public finally, I cannot a moment doubt. Our part 
then is to pursue with steadiness what is right, turning neither 
to right nor left for the intrigues or popular delusions of the day, 
assured that the public approbation will in the end be with us. 
The councils of the legislature, at their late session, were poisoned 
unfortunately by the question of the seat of government, and the 
consequent jealousies of our views in erecting the large building 
still wanting. This lost us some friends who feel a sincere in- 
terest in favor of the University, but a stronger one in the ques- 
tion respecting the seat of government. They seem not to have 
considered that the seat of the government, and that of the Uni- 
versity, are incompatible with one another ; that if the former 
were to come here, the latter must be removed. Even Oxford 
and Cambridge placed in the middle of London, they would be 
deserted as seats of learning, and as proper places for training 
youth. These groundless jealousies, it is to be hoped, will be 
dissipated by sober reflection, during the separation of the mem- 
bers ; and they will perceive, before their next meeting, that the 
large building, without which the institution cannot proceed, 
has nothing to do with the question of the seat of government. 
If, however, the ensuing session should still refuse their patron- 


age, a second or a third will think better, and result fina_ly in 
fulfilling the object of our aim, the securing to our country a full 
and perpetual institution for all the useful sciences ; one which 
will restore us to our former station in the confederacy. It may 
be a year or two later indeed ; but it will replace us in full grade, 
and not leave us among the mere subalterns of the league. Pa- 
tience and steady perseverance on our part will secure the blessed . 
end. If we shrink, it is gone forever. Our autumnal meeting 
will be interesting. The question will be whether we shall re- 
linquish the scale of a real University, the rallying centre of the 
South and the West, or let it sink to that of a common academy. 
I hope you will be with us, and give us the benefit of your firm 
and enlarged views. I am not at all disheartened with what 
has passed, nor disi^osed to give up the ship. We have only to 
lie still, to do and say nothing, and firmly avoid opening. The 
public opinion is advancing. It is coming to our aid, and 
will force the institution on to consummation. The numbers 
are great, and many from great distances, who visit it daily as 
an object of curiosity. They become strengthened if friends, 
converted if enemies, and all loud and zealous advocates, and 
will shortly give full tone to the public voice. Our motto should 
be "be not wearied with well-doing." Accept the assurance 
of my affectionate friendship and respect. 


MnvTicKiLO, May 13, 1822. 

Messes. Ritchie and Gooch, — I am thankful to you for the 
paper you have been so kind as to send me, containing the ar- 
raignment of the Presidents of the United States generally, as 
peculators or accessories to peculation, by an informer who 
masks himself under the signature of " a Native Virginian." 
What relates to myself in this paper, (being his No. VI., and the 
only No. I have seen) I had before read in the " Federal Repub- 
lican" of Baltimore, of August 28th, which was sent to me by a 


friend, with the real name of the author. It was published there 
during the ferment of a warmly-contested election. I considered 
it, therefore, as an electioneering manosuvre merely, and did not 
even think it required the trouble of recollecting, after a lapse 
of thirty-three years, the circumstances of the case in which he 
charges me with having purloined from the treasury of the Uni- 
ted States the sum of $1,148. But as he has thought it worth 
repeating in his Roll of informations against your Presidents 
nominally, I shall give the truths of the case, which he has omit- 
ted, perhaps because he did not know them, and ventured toe 
inconsiderately to supply them from his own conjectures. 

On the return from my mission to France, and joining the 
government here, in the spring of 1790, I had a long and heavy 
account to settle with the United States, of the administration of 
their pecuniary affairs in Eurojie, of which the superintendence 
had been confided to me while there. I gave in my accoiint 
early, but the pressure of other business did not jDermit the ac- 
counting officers to attend to it till October 10th, 1792, when we 
settled, and a balance of $888 67 appearing to be due from me, 
(but erroneously as will be shown,) I paid the money the same 
day, delivered up my vouchers, and received a certificate of it. 
But still the articles of my draughts on the bankers could be 
only provisionally Tpast ; until their accounts also should be re- 
ceived to be confronted with mine. And it was not till the 24th 
of June, 1804, that I received a letter from Mr. Richard Har- 
rison the auditor, informing me " that my accounts, as Minister 
to France, had been adjusted and closed," adding, "the bill 
drawn and credited by you under date of the 21st of October, 
1789, for banco florins 2,800, having never yet appeared in any 
account of the Dutch bankers, stand at your debit only as a pro- 
visional charge. If it should hereafter turn out, as I incline to 
think it will, that this bill has never been negotiated or used by 
Mr. Grand, you will have a just claim on the public for its 
value." This was the first intimation to me that I had too 
hastily charged myself with that draught. I determined, how- 
ever, as I had allowed it in my account, and paid up the balance 


t had produced against me, to let it remain awhile, as there 
Tfas a possibility that the draught might still he presented hy the 
holder to the bankers ; and so it remained till I was near leaving 
Washington, on my final retirement from the administration in 
1809. I then received from the auditor, Mr. Harrison, the fol- 
lowing note : " Mr. Jefferson, in his accounts as late Minister to 
France, credited among other sums, a bill drawn by him on the 
21st October, 1789, to the order of Grand & Co., on the bankers 
of the United States at Amsterdam, f. Banco f. 2,800, equal with 
agio to current florins 2,870, and which was charged to him pro- 
visionally in the official statement made at the Treasury, in the 
month of October, 1804. But as this bill has not yet been no- 
ticed in any account rendered by the bankers, the presumption 
is strong that it was never negotiated or presented for payment, 
and Mr. Jefferson, therefore, appears justly entitled to receive the 
value of it, which, at forty cents the gilder, (the rate at which it 
was estimated in the above-mentioned statement.) amounts to 
$1,148. Auditor's office, January 24th, 1809." 

Desirous of leaving nothing unsettled behind me, I drew the 
money from the treasury, but without any interest, although I 
had let it lie there twenty years, and had actually on that error 
paid $888 67, an apparent balance against me, when the true 
balance was in my favor $259 33. The question then is, how 
has this happened ? I have «xamined minutely and can state it 

Turning to my pocket diary I find that on the 21st day of 
October, 1789, the date of this bill, I was at Cowes in England, 
on my return to the United States. The entry in my diary is in 
these words : " 1789, October 21st. Sent to Grand & Co., letter 
of credit on Willinks, Yan Staphorsts and Hubbard, for 2,800 
florins Banco." And I immediately credited it in my account 
with the United States in the following words : " 1789, October 
21. By my bill on Willinks, Van Staphorsts and Hubbard, in 
favor of Grand & Co., for 2,800 florins, equal to 6,250 livres IS 
sous." My account having been kept in livres and sous of France, 
the auditor settled this sum at the current exchange, making it 

VOL. vn. 16 


,^1,14S This bill, drawn at Co-wes in England, had to pass 
through London to Paris by the English and French mails, in 
which passage it was lost, by some unknown accident, to which 
it was the more exposed in the French mail, by the confusion 
then prevailing ; for it was exactly at the time that martial law 
was proclaimed at Paris, the country all up in arms, and execu- 
tions by the mobs were daily perpetrating through town and 
country. However this may have been, the bill never got to the 
hands of Grand & Co., was never, of course, forwarded by them 
to the bankers of Amsterdam, nor anything more ever heard of 
it. The auditor's first conjecture then was the true one, that it 
never was negotiated, nor therefore charged to the United States 
in any of the bankers' accounts. I have now under my eye a 
duplicate furnished me by Grand of his account of that date 
against the United States, and his private account against my- 
self, and I affirm that he has not noticed this bill in either of 
these accounts, and the auditor assures us the Dutch bankers had 
never charged it. The sum of the whole then is, that I drew a 
bill on the United States bankers, charged myself with it on the 
presumption it would be paid, that it never was paid however, 
either by the bankers of the United States, or anybody else. It 
was surely just then to return me the money I had paid for it. 
Yet " the Native Virginian " thinks that this act of receiving 
back the money I had thus through error overpaid, "ivas a pal- 
pable and manifest act of moral turpitude, about which no two 
honest, iinpartial men can possibly differ." I ascribe these hard 
expressions to the ardor of his zeal for the public good, and as 
they contain neither argument nor proof, I pass them over with- 
out observation. Indeed, I have not been in the habit of notic- 
ing these morbid ejections of spleen either with or without the 
names of those venting them. But I have thought it a duty on 
the present occasion to relieve my fellow citizens and my coun- 
try from the degradation in the eyes of the world to which this 
informer is endeavoring to reduce it by representing it as gov- 
erned hitherto by a succession of swindlers and peculators. Nor 
shall I notice any further endeavors to prove or to palliate this 


palpable misinformation. I am too old and inert to undertake 
minute investigations of intricate transactions of the last century ; 
■ and I am not afraid to trust to the justice and good sense of my 
fellow-citizens on future, as on former attempts to lessen me in 
their esteem. 

I ask of you, gentlemen, the insertion of this letter in your pa- 
per ; and I trust that the printers who have hazarded the publica- 
tion of the libel, on anonymous authority, will think that of the 
answer a moderate retribution of the wrong to which they have 
been accessory. 


MoNTicELLO, June 1, 1822. 

It is very long, my dear Sir, since I have written'to you. My 
dislocated wrist is now become so stiff that I write slow and 
with pain, and therefore write as little as I can. Yet it is due 
to mutual friendship to ask once in awhile how we do ? The 
papers tell us that General Starke is oflf at the age of 93. Charles 
Thomson still lives at about the same age, cheerful, slender as a 
grasshopper, and so much without memory that he scarcely rec- 
ognizes the members of his household. An intimate friend of 
his called on him not long since ; it was difficult to make him 
recollect who he was, and, sitting one hour, he told him the 
same story four times over. Is this life ? 

" With lab'ring step 
To tread our former footsteps ? pace the round 
Eternal ? — to beat and beat 
The beaten track ? to see what we have seen, 
To taste the tasted ? o'er our palates to decant 
Another vintage ?" 

It is at most but the life of a cabbage ; surely not worth a wish. 
When all our faculties have left, or are leaving us, one by one, 
sight, hearing, memory, every avenue of pleasing sensation is 
closed, and athumy, debility and malaise left in their places, when 


friends of our youth are all gone, and a generation is risen around 
us whom we know not, is death an evil ? 

When one by one our ties are torn, 

And friend from friend is snatched forlorn, 

When man is left alone to mourn, 

Oh ! then hew sweet it is to die I 
When trembling limbs refuse their weight, 
And films slow gathering dim the sight, 
When clouds obscure the mental light 

'Tis nature's kindest boon to die ! 

I really think so. I have ever dreaded a doting old age ; and 
my health has been generally so good, and is now so good, that 
I dread it still. The rapid decline of my strength during the last 
winter has made me hope sometimes that I see laiid. During 
summer I enjoy its temperature, but I shudder at the approach 
of winter, and wish I could sleep through it with the Dormouse, 
and only wake with him in spring, if ever. They say that 
Starke could walk about his room. I am told you walk well 
and firmly. I can only reach my garden, and that with sensible 
fatigue. I ride, however, daily. But reading is my delight. I 
should wish never to put pen to paper ; and the more because of 
the treacherous practice some people have of publishing one's let- 
ters without leave. Lord Mansfield declared it a breach of trust, 
and punishable at law. I think it should be a penitentiary felo- 
ny ; yet you will have seen that they have drawn me out into the 
arena of the newspapers ; although I know it is too late for me to 
buckle on the armor of youth, yet my indignation would not per- 
mit me passively to receive the kick of an ass. 

To turn to the news of the day, it seems that the Cannibals 
of Europe are going to eating one another again. A war be- 
tween Russia and Turkey is like the battle of the kite and 
snake. Whichever destroys the other, leaves a destroyer the 
less for the world. This pugnacious humor of mankind seems 
to be the law of his nature, one of the obstacles to too great mul- 
tiplication provided in the mechanism of the Universe. The 
cocks of the henyard kill one another up. Bears, bulls, rams, do 


the same. And the horse, in his wild state, kills all the young 
males, until worn down with age and war, some vigorous youth 
kills him, and takes to himself the Harem of females. I hope 
we shall prove how much happier for man the Q,uaker policy is, 
and that the life of the feeder, is better than that of the fighter ; 
and it is some consolation that the desolation by these maniacs 
of one part of the earth is the means of improving it in other 
parts. Let the latter be our office, and let us milk the cow, 
while the Russian holds her by the horns, and the Turk by the 
tail. God bless you, and give you health, strength, and good 
spirits, and as much of life as you think worth having. 


MoNTiCELio, -Tune 5, 1822. 

I thank you. Sir, for the pamphlets you have been so kind as 
to send me, and am happy to learn that the doctrine of Jesus 
that there is but one God, is advancing prosperously among our 
fellow citizens. Had his doctrines, pure as they came from him- 
self, been never sophisticated for unworthy purposes, the whole 
civilized world would at this day have formed but a single sect. 
You ask my opinion on the items of doctrine in your catechism. 
I have never permitted myself to meditate a specified creed. 
These formulas have been the bane and ruin of the Christian 
church, its own fatal invention, which, through so many ages, 
made of Christendom a slaughter-house, and at this day divides 
it into casts of inextinguishable hatred to one another. Witness 
the present internecine rage of all other sects against the Unita- 
rian. The religions of antiquity had no particular formulas of 
creed. Those of the modern world none, except those of the re- 
ligionists calling themselves Christians, and even among these 
the Quakers have none. And hence, alone, the harmony, the 
quiet, the brotherly aflfections, the exemplary and unschismatising 
society of the Friends, and I hope the Unitarians, will follow their 
happy example. With thtse sentiments of the mischiefs of 


creeds and confessions of faith, I am sure you will excuse mv 
not giving opinions on the items of any particular one ; and that 
you will accept, at the same time, the assurance of the high re- 
spect and consideration which I bear to its author. 


MoNTicELLO, June 10, 1822. 

Messrs. Ritchie and Gooch, — In my letter to you of May 
13th, in answer to a charge by a person signing himself " A Na- 
tive Virginian," that on a bill drawn by me for a sum equivalent 
to $1,148, the treasury of the United States had made double 
payment, I supposed I had done as much as would be required 
when I showed they had only returned to me money which I 
had previously paid into the treasury on the presumption that 
such a bill had been paid for me, but that this bill being lost or 
destroyed on the way, had never been presented, consequently 
never paid by the United States, and that the money was there- 
fore returned to me. This being too plain for controversy, the 
pseudo Native of Virginia, in his reply. No. 32, in the Federal 
Republican of May 24th, reduces himself ultimately to the ground 
of a double receipt of the money by me, first on sale or negotia- 
tion of the bill in Europe, and a second time from the treasury. 
But the bill was never sold or negotiated anywhere. It was not 
drawn to raise money in the market. I sold it to nobody, received 
no money on it, but enclosed it to Grand & Co. for some pur- 
pose of account, for what particular purpose neither my memory, 
after a lapse of thirty-three years, nor my papers enable me tc 
say. Had I preserved a copy of my letter to Grand enclosing the 
bill, that would doubtless have explained the purpose. But it 
was drawn on. the eve of my embarkation with my family from 
Cowes for America, and probably the hurry of preparation for 
that did not allow me time to take a copy. I presume this be- 
cause I find no such letter among my papers. Nor does any sub- 
sequent correspondence with Grand explain it, because I had no 


private account with him ; my account as minister being kept 
with the treasury directly, so that he, receiving no intimation of 
this bill, could never give me notice of its miscarriage. But, 
however satisfactory might have been an explanation of the pur- 
pose of the bill, it is unnecessary at least ; the material fact being 
established that it never got to hand, nor was ever paid by the 
United States. 

And how does the Native Virginian maintain hL'i charge that 
I received the cash when I drew the bilj. ? by unceremoniously 
inserting into the entry of that article in my account, words of 
his own, making me say in direct terms that I did receive the 
cash for the bill. In my account rendered to the treasury, it is 
entered in these words : " 1789, Oct. 1. By my bill on Willincks, 
Van Staphorsts & Hubbard in favor of Grand & Co. for 2,800 
florins, equal to 6,230 livres 18 sous ;" but he quotes it as stated 
in my account rendered to and settled at the treasury, and yet 
remaining, as it is to be presumed, among the archives of that 
department, " By cash received of Grmid for bill on Willincks, 
&c." Now the words " cash received of Grand " constitute 
"the very point, the pivot, on which the matter turns," as him- 
self says, and not finding, he has furnished them. Although the 
interpolation of them is sufficiently refuted by the fact that Grand 
was, at the time, in France, and myself in England, yet wishing 
that conviction of the interpolation should be founded on official 
document, I wrote to the auditor, Mr. Harrison, requesting an 
official certificate of the very words in which that article stood 
in my autograph account deposited in the office. I received yes- 
terday his answer of the 3d, in which he says, " I am unable to 
furnish the extract you require, as the original account rendered 
by you of your pecuniary transactions of a public nature in Eu- 
rope, together with the vouchers and documents connected with 
it, were all destroyed in the Register's office in the memorable 
conflagration of 1814. With respect, therefore, to the sum of 
$1,148 in question, I can only say that, after full and repeated 
examinations, I considered you as most righteously and justly 
entitled to receive it. Otherwise, it will, I trust, be believed that 


I could not have consented to the re-payment." Considering the 
intimacy which the Native Virginian shows with the treasury 
affairs, we might he justified in suspecting that he knew this 
fact of the destruction of the original by fire when he ventured 
to misquote. But certainly we may call on him to say, and to 
show, from what original he copied these words : " cash received 
from Grand "? I say, most assuredly, from none, for none such 
ever existed. Although the original be lost, which would have 
convicted him officially, it happens that when I made from my 
rough draft a fair copy of my account for the treasury, I took 
also, with a copying-machine, a press-copy of every page, which 
I kept for my own use. It is known that copies by this well- 
known machine are taken by impression on damp paper laid on 
the face of the written page while fresh, and passed between 
rollers as copper plates are. They must therefore be true fac 
similies. This press-copy now lies before me, has .been shown 
to several persons, and will be shown to as many as wish or are 
willing to examine it ; and this article of my account is entered in 
it in these words : " 1789, Oct. 1. By my bill on Willincks, Van 
Staphorsts & Hubbard for 2,800 florins, equal to 6,230 livres 18 
sous." An inspection of the account, too, shows that whenever 
I received cash for a bill, it is uniformly entered " by cash re- 
ceived of such an one, (fcc. ;" but where a bill was drawn to con- 
stitute an item of account only, the entry is " by my bill on, 
&c." Now to these very words " cash received of Grand," not 
in my original but interpolated by himself, he constantly appeals 
as proofs of an acknowledgment under my own hand that / re- 
ceived the cash. In proof of this, I must request patience to read 
the following quotations from his denunciations as standing in 
the Federal Republican of May 24 : 

Page 2, column 2, 1. 48 to 29 from the bottom, " he [Mr. J.] 
admits in his account rendered in 1790 and settled in 1792, that 
he had received the ' cash,'' [placing the word cash between in- 
verted commas to have it marked particularly as a quotation] 
that he had received the ' casK for the bill in question, and he 
iocs not directly deny it now. Will he, can he, in the face of 


his own declaration in writing to the contrary, publicly say that 
he did not receive the money for this bill in Europe ? This is 
the point on which the whole matter rests, the pivot on which 
the arguments turn. If he did receive the money in Europe, 
(no matter whether at Cowes or at Paris,) he certainly had no 
right to receive it a second time from the public treasury of the 
United States. This is admitted I believe on all sides. Now, 
that he did receive the money in Europe on this bill, is proved 
by the acknowledgrhent of the receiver himself, who credits the 
amount in his account as settled at the treasury thus : " cash re- 
ceived of Grand for bill on Willincks, Van Staphorsts, 2,876 
gilders, 1,148 dollars. 

Col. 3, 1. 28 to 21 from bottom. There is a plain diiference 
in the phraseology of the account, from which an extract is 
given by Mr. J. as above, and that which he rendered to the Trea- 
sury. In the former he gives the credit thus, " Bjr my bills on 
Willincks," &c. In the latter he states, " By cash received of 
Grand for bill on Willincks, &c." There is a difference, indeed, 
as he states it, but it is made solely by his own interpolation. 

Col. 3, 1. 8, from bottom. " That Mr. Jefferson ^ould, in the 
very teeth of the facts of the evidence before us, and in his own 
breast, gravely say that he had paid the money for this bill, and 
that therefore it was but just to return him the amount of it, 
when he had, by his own acknowledgm,ent, sent it to Grand & 
Co., and received the m,oney for it, is, I confess, not only matter 
of utter astonishment but regret." I spare myself the qualifica- 
tions which these paragraphs may merit, leaving them to be ap- 
plied by every reader according to the feelings they may excite 
in his own breast. 

He proceeds : " And now to place this case beyond the reach 
of cavil or doubt, and to show mA)st conclusively that he had 
negotiated this bill in Europe, and received the cash for it there, 
and that such was the understanding of the matter at the treasury 
in 1809, when he received the money." These are his own ■ 
words. Col. 4, he brings forward the overwhelming fact " not 
hitherto made public but stated from the most creditable and au- 


thentic source, that one of the accounting officers of the treasury 
suggested in writing the propriety of taking bond and security 
from Mr. J., for indemnification of the United States against any 
future claim on this bill. But it seems the bond was not taken, 
and the government is now liable in law, and in good faith for 
the payment of this bill to the rightful owner." How this sug- 
gestion of taking bond at the treasury, so solemnly paraded, is 
more conclusive proof than his own interpolation, that the cash 
was received, I am so dull as not to perceive ; but I say, that had 
the suggestion been made to me, it would have been instantly 
complied with. But I deny his law. Were the bill now to be 
presented to the treasmy, the answer would and should be the 
same as a merchant would give : " You have held up this bill 
three and thirty years without notice ; we have settled in the 
meantime with the drawer, and have no effects of his left in our 
hands. Apply to him for payment." On his application to me, 
I should first inquire into the history of the bill ; where it had 
been lurking for three and thirty years ? how came he by it ? by 
interception ? by trover ? by assignment from Grand ? by pur- 
chase ? from whom, when and where ? And according to his 
answers I should either institute criminal process against him, or 
if he showed that all was fair and honest, I should pay him the 
money, and look for reimbursement to the quarter appearing 
liable. The law deems seven years' absence of a man, without 
being heard of, such presumptive evidence of his death, as to 
distribute his estate, and to allow his wife to marry again. The 
Auditor thought that twenty years non-appearance of a bill 
which had been risked through the post-offices of two nations, 
was sufficient presumption of its loss. But this self-styled native 
of Virginia thinks that the thirty-three years now elapsed are 
not sufficient. Be it so. If the accounting officers of the treas- 
ury have any uneasiness on that subject, I am ready to ^ give a 
bond of indemnification to the United States in any sum the 
ofiicers will name, and with the security which themselves 
shall approve. Will this satisfy the native Virginian ? or will 
he now try to pick some other hole in this transaction, to shield 


nimself from a candid acknowledgment, that in making up his 
case, he suppUed hy gratuitous conjectures, the facts which were 
not within his knowledge, and that thus he has sinned against 
truth in his declarations before the public ? Be this as it may, 
I have so much confidence in the discernment and candor of my 
fellow-citizens, as to leave to their judgment, and dismiss from 
my own notice any future torture of words or circumstances 
which this writer may devise for their deception. Indeed, could 
such a denunciation, and on such proof, bereave me of that con- 
fidence and consolation, I should, through the remainder of life, 
brood over the afilicting belief that I had lived and labored in 


MoNTicELLO, June 13, 1822. 

Sir, — I thank you for the volume of American Jurisprudence, 
which you have been so kind as to send me. I am now too old 
to read books solidly, unless they promise present amusement or 
future benefit. To me books of law offer neither. But I read 
your 6th chapter with interest and satisfaction, on the question 
whether the common law (of England) makes a part of the laws 
of our general government ? That it makes more or less a part 
of the laws of the States is, I suppose, an unquestionable fact. 
Not by birthright, a conceit as inexplicable as the trinity, but by 
adoption. But, as to the general government, the Virginia Re- 
port on the alien and sedition laws, has so completely pulverized 
this pretension that nothing new can be said on it. Still, seeing 
that judges of the Supreme Court, (I recollect, for example. Els- 
worth and Story) had been found capable of such paralogism, I 
was glad to see that the Supreme Court had given it up. In the 
case of Libel in the United States district Court of Connecticut, 
the rejection of it was certainly sound ; because no law of the 
general government had made it an offence. But such a case 
might, I suppose, be sustained in the State Courts which have 
state laws against libels. Because as to the portions of power 


within each State assigned to the general government, the Presi- 
dent is as much the Executive of the State, as their particular 
governor is in relation to State powers. These, however, are 
speculations with which I no longer trouble myself ; and there- 
fore, to my thanks, I will only add assurances of my great res- 


MoNTioELLO, June 26, 1822 

Dear Sir, — I have received and read with thankfulness and 
pleasure your denunciation of the abuses of tobacco and wine. 
Yet, however sound in its principles, I expect it will be but a 
sermon to the wind. You will find it is as difficult to inculcate 
these sanative precepts on the sensualities of the present day, as 
to convince an Athanasian that there is but one God. I wish 
success to both attempts, and am happy to learn from you tkat 
the latter, at least, is making progress, and the more rapidly in 
proportion as our Platonizing Christians make more stir and noise 
about it. The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the 
happiness of man. 

1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect. 

2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments. 

3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as 
thyself, is the sum of religion. These are the great points on 
which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But 
compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin. 

1. That there are three Gods. 

2. That good works, or the love of our neighbour, are nothing. 

3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible 
the proposition, the more merit in its faith. 

4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use. • 

5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals 
to be saved, and certain others to be damned ; and that no crimes 
of the former can damn them ; no virtues of the latter save. 

Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian ? He 


who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus ? . Or the 
impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin ? Verily I say 
these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door 
into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are 
mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion 
made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from 
Christianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have 
driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily reject- 
ed the supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely im- 
puted to him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always 
as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world 
would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed 
country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its 
creed and conscience to neither Kings nor priests, the genuine 
doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not 
a young man now living in the United States who will not die 
an Unitarian. 

But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-estab- 
lished, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating for- 
mulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so 
soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a 
mere Aceldama ; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and 
Jssus for Plato. How much wiser are the Q,uakers, who, agree- 
ing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about 
no mysteries, and, keeping within the pale of common sense, 
suffer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of 
feature, to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom 
of Unitarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its 
charitable circumference all who believe in one God, and who 
love their neighbor ! I conclude my sermon with sincere assur- 
ances of ray friendly esteem and respect. 



MoNTiCELLO, June 2*7, 1822. 

Dear Sik, — Your kind letter of the 11th has given me great 
satisfaction. For although I could not doubt but that the hand 
of age was pressing heavily on you, as on myself, yet we like to 
know the particulars and the degree of that pressure. Much re- 
flectiin too, has been produced by your suggestion of lending 
my letter of the 1st, to a printer. I have generally great aver- 
sion to the insertion of my letters in the public papers ; because 
of my passion for quiet retirement, and never to be exhibited in 
scenes on the public stage. Nor am I unmindful of the pre- 
cept of Horace, '' solvere senescentem, mature sanus equum, ne 
peccet ad extremum ridendus." In the present case, however, I 
see a possibility that this might aid in producing the very quiet 
after which I pant. I do not know how far you may suffer, as 
I do, under the persecution of letters, of which every mail brings 
a fresh load. They are letters of inquiry, for the most part, al- 
ways of good will, sometimes from friends whom I esteem, but 
much oftener from persons whose names are unknown to me, 
but written kindly and civilly, and to which, therefore, civihty 
requires answers. Perhaps, the better known failure of your 
hand in its function of writing, may shield you in greater degree 
from this distress, and so far qualify the misfortune of its disabili- 
ty. I happened to turn to my letter-list some time ago, and a 
curiosity was excited to count those received in a single year. 
It was the year before the last. I found the number to be one 
thousand two hundred and sixty-seven, many of them requiring 
answers of elaborate research, and all to be answered with due 
attention and consideration. Take an average of this number 
for a week or a day, and I will repeat the question suggested by 
other considerations in mine of the 1st. Is this life ? At best it 
is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle but 
in death. To such a life, that of a cabbage is paradise. It oc- 
curs then, that my condition of existence, truly stated in that 
letter, if better known, might check the kind indiscretions which 


are so heavily oppressing the departing hours of life. Such a re- 
lief would, to me, be an ineffable blessing. But yours of the 
11th, equally interesting and affecting, should accompany that to 
which it is an answer. The two, taken together, would excite 
a joint interest, and place before our fellow-citizens the present 
condition of two ancient servants, who having faithfully per- 
formed their forty or fifty campaigns, stipendiis omnibus expletis, 
have a reasonable claim to repose from all disturbance in the 
sanctuary of invalids and superannuates. But some device should 
be thought of for their getting before the public otherwise than 
by our own publication. Your printer, perhaps, could frame 
something plausible. ********'s name should be left blank, as 
his picture, should it meet his eye, might give him pain. I con- 
sign, however, the whole subject to your consideration, to do in 
it whatever your own judgment shall approve, and repeat always, 
with truth, the assurance of my constant and affectionate friend- 
ship and respect. 


MoNTiCELLO, July 2, 1822. 

SiE, — Your favor of the 15th of June is received, and I am 
very thankful for the kindness of its expressions respecting my- 
self. But it ascribes to me merits which I do not claim. I was 
only of a band devoted to the cause of independence, all of whom 
exerted equally their best endeavors for its success, and have a 
common right to the merits of its acquisition. So also is the 
civil revolution of 1801. Yery many and very meritorious were 
the worthy patriots who assisted in bringing back our govern- 
ment to its republican tack. To preserve it in that, will require 
unremitting vigilance. Whether the sun-ender of our opponents, 
their reception into our camp, their assumption of our name, and 
apparent accession to our objects, may strengthen or weaken the 
genuine principles of republicanism, may be a good or an evil, is 
yet to be seen. I consider the party division of whig and tory 


the most wholesome which can exist in any government, and 
well worthy of being nourished, to keep out those of a more dan- 
gerous character. We already see the power, installed for life, 
responsible to no authority, (for impeachment is not even a scare- 
crow,) advancing with a noiseless and steady pace to the great 
object of consolidation. The foundations are already deeply laid 
by their decisions, for the annihilation of constitutional State 
rights, and the removal of every check, every counterpoise to the 
ingulphing power of which themselves are to make a sovereign 
part. If ever this vast country is brought under a single govern- 
ment, it will be one of the most extensive corruption, indifferent 
and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of sur- 
face. This will not be borne, and you will have to choose be- 
tween reformation and revolution. If I know the spirit of this 
country, the one or the other is inevitable. Before the canker is 
become inveterate, before its venom has reached so much of the 
body politic as to get beyond control, remedy should be applied. 
Let the future appointments of judges be for four or six years, 
and renewable by the President and Senate. This will bring 
their conduct, at regular periods, under revision and probation, 
and may keep them in equipoise between the general and special 
governments. We have erred in this point, by copying England, 
where certainly it is a good thing to have the judges independent 
of the King. But we have omitted to copy their caution also, 
which makes a judge removable on the address of both legislative 
Houses. That there should be public functionaries independent 
of the nation, whatever may be their demerit, is a solecism in a. 
republic, of the first order of absurdity and inconsistency. 

To the printed inquiries respecting our schools, it is not in my 
power to give an answer. Age, debility, an ancient dislocated, 
and now stiffened wrist, render writing so slow and painful, that 
I am obliged to decline everything possible requiring writing. 
An act of our legislature will inform you of our plan of primary 
schools, and the annual reports show that it is becoming com- 
pletely abortive, and must be abandoned very shortly, after cost- 
ing us to this day one hundred and eighty thousand dollars, and 


yet to cost us forty-five thousand dollars a year more until it 
shall be discontinued ; and if a single boy has received the ele- 
ments of common education, it must be in some part of the coun- 
try not known to me. Experience has but too fully confirmed 
the early predictions of its fate. But on this subject I must re- 
fer you to others more able than I am to go into the necessary 
details ; and I conclude with the assurances of my great esteem 
and respect. 


MfhVTiCEi.LO, July 19, 1822. 

Deae SiK, — An anciently dislocated, and now stiffening wrist, 
makes writing an operation so slow and painful to me, that I 
should not so soon have troubled you with an acknowledgment 
of your favor of the 8th, but for the request it contained of my 
consent to the publication of my letter of June the 26th. No, 
my dear Sir, not for the world. Into what a nest of hornets 
would it thrust my head ! the getiiis irritable vatum, on whom 
argument is lost, and reason is, by themselves, disclaimed in 
matters of religion. Don Quixote undertook to redress the 
bodily wrongs of the world, but the redressment of mental va- 
garies would be an enterprise more than Quixotic. J should as 
soon undertake to bring the crazy skulls of Bedlam to sound un- 
derstanding, as inculcate reason into that of an Athanasian. I 
am old, and tranquility is now my sunimum bonum. Keep me, 
therefore, from the fire and faggots of Calvin and his victim Ser- 
Vbtus. Happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Chris- 
tianity, I must leave to younger athletes to encounter and lop 
off the false branches which have been engrafted into it by the 
mythologists of the middle and modern ages. I am not aware 
of the peculiar resistance to Unitarianism, which you ascribe to 
Pennsylvania. When I lived in Philadelphia, there was a res- 
pectable congregation of that sect, with a meeting-house and 
regular service which I attended, and in which Doctor Priestley 

VOL. Vll. 17 


officiated to numerous audiences. Baltimore has one or two 
churches, and their pastor, author of an inestimable book on this 
subject, was elected chaplain to the late Congress. That doc- 
trine has not yet been preached to us : but the breeze begins to 
be felt which precedes the storm ; and fanaticism is all in a 
bustle, shutting its doors and windows to keep it out. But it 
will come, and drive before it the foggy mists of Platonisni which 
have so long obscured our atmosphere. I am in hopes that some 
of the disciples of your institution will become missionaries to us, 
of these doctrines truly evangelical, and open our eyes to what 
has been so I'^ng hidden from them. A bold and' eloquent 
preacher would be nowhere listened to with more freedom than 
in this State, nor with more firmness of mind. They might need 
a preparatory discourse on the text of " prove all things, hold 
fast that which is good," in order to unlearn the lesson that reason 
IS an unlawful guide in religion. They might startle on being 
first awaked from the dreams of the night, but they Avould rub 
their eyes at once, and look the spectres boldly in the face. The 
preacher might be excluded by our hierophants from their churches 
and meeting-houses, but would be attended in the fields by whole 
acres of hearers and thinkers. Missionaries from Cambridge 
would soon be greeted with more welcome, than from the tritheis- 
tical school of Andover. Such are my wishes, such would be 
my welcomes, warm and cordial as the assurances of my esteem 
and respect for you. 


.\l()NTK'n.M,o, Ang-ii-^t '29, 1822. 

You must be so good, Sir, as to excuse me from entering into 
the optical investigation which your letter of the 18th proposes- 
The hand of age presses heavily on me. I have long withdrawn 
my mind from speculations of that kind ; my memory is on the 
wane. I am averse even to close thinking, and writing is be- 
.;ome slow, laborious and painful. I will make then but a single 


suggestion on the subject of your proposition, to show my respect 
o your request. 

To distinct vision it is necessary not only that the visual angle 
should be sufficient for the powers of the human eye, but that 
there should be sufficient light also on the object of observatior. 
In microscopic observations, the enlargement of the angle of 
vision may be more indulged, because auxiliary light may be 
concentrated on the object by concave mirrors. But in the case 
of the heavenly bodies, we can have no such aid. The moon, 
for example, receives from the sun but a fixed quantity of light. 
In proportion as you magnify her surface, you spread that fixed 
quantity over a greater space, dilute it more, and render the ob- 
ject more dim. If you increase her magnitude infinitely, you 
dim her face infinitely also, and she becomes invisible. When 
under total eclipse, all the direct rays of the sim being intercepted, 
she is seen but faintly, and would not be seen at all but for the 
refraction of the solar rays in their passage through our atmos- 
phere. In a night of extreme darkness, a house or a mountain 
is not seen, as not having light enough to impress the limited 
sensibility of our eye. I do suppose in fact that Herschel has 
availed himself of the properties of the parabolic mirror to the 
point beyond which its effect would be countervailed by the 
diminution of light on the object. I barely suggest this element, 
not presented to view in your letter, as one which must enter 
into the estimate of the improved telescope you propose. You 
will receive from the professional mathematicians whom you 
have consulted, remarks more elaborate and profound, and must 
be so good as to accept mine merely as testimonies of my respect. 


MoN'TicKi.i.o, Seplomber 5, 1S2?. 

Sir, — Your letter of August — , was received a few days ago. 
Of all the departments of science no one seems to have been less 
advanced for the last hundred years than that of meteorology. 


The new chemistry indeed has given us a new principle of the 
generation of rain, by proving water to be a composition of differ- 
ent gases, and has aided our theory of meteoric lights. Elec- 
tricity stands where Dr. Franklin's early discoveries . placed it, 
except with its new modification of galvanism. Bat the phe- 
nomena of snow, hail, halo, aurora borealis, haze, looming, &c., 
are as yet very imperfectly understood. I am myself an empiric 
m natural philosophy, suffering my faith to go no further than 
my facts. I am pleased, however, to see the efforts of hypothet- 
ical speculation, because by the collisions of different hypothe- 
ses, truth may be elicited and science advanced in the end. 
This sceptical disposition does not permit me to say whether 
your hypothesis for looming and the floating volumes of warm 
air occasionally perceived, may or may not be confirmed by fu- 
ture observations. More facts are yet wanting to furnish a solu- 
tion on which we may rest with confidence. I even doubt as 
yet whether the looming at sea and at land are governed by the 
same laws. In this state of uncertainty, I cannot presume either 
to advise or discourage the publication of your essay. This 
must depend on circumstances of which you must be abler to 
judge yourself, and therefore I return the paper as requested, 
with assurances of my great respect. 


MoN-noKLLo, Septembei- 25, 1822. 

Sir, — I received on the 20th, your letter of the 13th, on the 
question what is an east and west line ? which, you say, has 
been a subject of discussion in the newspapers. I presume, how- 
ever, it must have been a mere question of definition, and that 
the parties have differed only in applying the same appellation to 
different things. The one defines an east and west line to be on 
a great circle of the earth, passing through the point of departure, 
its nadir point, and the centre of the earth, its plane rectangular, 
to that of the meridian of departure. The other considers an 


east and "west line to be a line on the surface of the earth, bound- 
ing a plane at right-angles with its axis, or a circle of latitude 
passing through the point of departure, or in other words, a line 
which, from the point of departure, passes every meridian at a 
right-angle. Each party, therefore, defining the line he means, 
may be permitted to call it an east and west one, or at least it 
becomes no longer a mathematical but a philological question 
of the meaning of the words east and west. The last is what 
was meant probably by the east and west line in the treaty of 
Ghent. The same has been the understanding in running the 
numerous east and west lines which divide our different States. 
They have been run by observations of latitude at very short in- 
tervals, uniting the points of observation by short direct lines, and 
thus constituting in fact part of a polygon of very short sides. 

But, Sir, I do not pretend to be an arbiter of these learned 
questions ; age has weaned me from such speculations, and ren- 
dered me as incompetent as unwilling to puzzle myself with 
them. Your claim on me as a quondam neighbor has induced 
me to hazard thus much', not indeed for the newspapers, a vehicle 
to which I am never willingly committed, but to prove my atten- 
tion to your wishes, and to convey to you the assurances of my 


MoNTKziLui, October 15, 1822. 

Dear Sik, — I have long entertained scruples about writing this 
letter, upon a subject of some delicacy. But old age has over- 
come them at last. 

You remember the four ships ordered by Congress to be built, 
and the four captains appointed by Washington, Talbot, and 
Truxton, and Barry, &c., to carry an ambassador to Algiers, and 
protect our commerce in the Mediterranean. I have always im 
puted this measure to you, for several reasons. First, because 
you frequently proposed it to me while we were at Paris, nego- 
tiating together for peace with the Barbary powers. Secondly, 


because I knew that Washington and Hamilton were not only 
indifferent about a navy, but averse to it. There was no Secre- 
tary of the Navy ; only four Heads of department. You were 
Secretary of State ; Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury ; Knox. 
Secretary of War ; and I believe Bradford was Attorney Gen- 
eral. I have always suspected that you and Knox were in favor 
of a navy. If Bradford was so, the majority was clear. But 
Washington, I am confident, was against it in his judgment. 
But his attachment to Knox, and his deference to yonr opinion, 
for I know he had a great regard for you, might induce him to 
decide in favor of you and Knox, even though Bradford united 
with Hamilton in opposition to you. That Hamilton was averse 
'£) the measure, I have personal evidence ; for while it was pend- 
ing, he came in a hurry and a fit of impatience, to make a visit 
to me. He said he was likely to be called upon for a large sum 
of money to build ships of war, to fight the Algerines, and he 
asked my opinion of the measure. I answered him that I was 
clearly in favor of it. For I had always been of opinion, from 
the commencement of the revolution, that a navy was the most 
powerful, the safest and the cheapest national defence for this 
country. My advice, therefore, was, that as much of the revenue 
as could possibly be spared, should be applied to the building and 
equipping of ships. The conversation was of some length, but it 
was manifest in his looks and in his air, that he was disgusted 
at the measure, as well as at the opinion that I had expressed. 

Mrs. Knox not long since wrote a letter to Doctor Waterhouse, 
requesting him to procure a commission for her son, in the navy ; 
that navy, says her ladyship, of which his father was the parent. 
'■ For," says she, " I have frequently heard General Washington 
say to my husband, the navy was your child." I have always 
believed it to be Jefferson's child, though Knox may have assist- 
ed in ushering it into the world. Hamilton's hobby was the 
army. That Washington was averse to a navy, I had full proof 
from his own lips, in many different conversations, some of them 
of length, in which he always insisted that it was only building 


and arming ships for the English. " Si quid novisti rectiiis istin 
candidus imperii ; si non, his utere inecwm." 

If I am in error in any particular, pray correct your humble 


MiiNTii KLLii, October '21, 1322 

Sir, — I return thanks for the pamphlet you have been so kind 
as to send me on the subject of commonwealths. Its moral prin- 
ciples merit entire approbation, its philanthropy especially, and 
its views of the equal rights of man. That, on the principle of a 
communion of property, small societies may exist in habits of 
virtue, order, industry, and peace, and consequently in a state of 
as much happiness as heaven has been pleased to deal out to im- 
perfect humanity, I can readily conceive, and indeed, have seen 
its proofs in various small societies which have been constituted 
on that principle. But I do not feel authorized to' conclude from 
these that an extended society, like that of the United States, or 
of an individual State, could be governed happily on the same 
principle. I look to the diffusion of light and education as the 
resource most to be relied on for ameliorating the condition, pro- 
moting the virtue, and advancing the happiness of man. That 
every man shall be made virtuous, by any process whatever, is, 
indeed, no more to be expected, than that every tree shall be 
made to bear fruit, and every plant nom-ishment. The brier and 
bramble can never become the vine and olive ; but their asperi- 
ties may be softened by culture, and their properties improved to 
usefulness in the order and economy of the world. And I do 
hope that, in the present spirit of extending to the great mass of 
mankind the blessings of instruction, I see a prospect of great 
advancement in the happiness of the human race ; and that this 
may proceed to an indefinite, although not to an infinite degree. 
Wishing every success to the views of your society which their 
hopes can promise, and thanking you most particularly for tne 


kind expressions of your letter towards myself, I salute you •with 
assurances of great esteem and respect. 


MoNTicELLO, November 1, 1822. 

Dear Sir, — I have racked my memory and ransacked my pa- 
pers, to enable myself to answer the inquiries of your favor of 
October the 15th ; but to little purpose. My papers furnish 
me nothing, my memory, generalities only. I know that while 
I was in Europe, and anxious about the fate of our seafaring 
men, for some of whom, then in captivity in Algiers, we were 
treating, and all were in like danger, I formed, undoubtingly, the 
opinion that our government, as soon as practicable, should pro- 
vide a naval force sufficient to keep the Barbary States in order; 
and on this subject we communicated together, as you observe. 
When I returned to the United States and took part in the ad- 
ministration under General Washington, I constantly maintained 
that opinion ; and in December, 1790, took advantage of a refer- 
ence to me from the first Congress which met after I was in of- 
fice, to report in favor of a force sufficient for the protection of 
our Mediterranean commerce ; and I laid before them an accurate 
statement of the whole Barbary force, public and private. I 
think General Washington approved of building vessels of war to 
that extent. General Knox, I know, did. But what was Colo- 
nel Hamilton's opinion, I do not in the least remember. Your 
recollections on that subject are certainly corroborated by his 
known anxieties for a close connection with Great Britain, to 
which he might apprehend danger from collisions between their 
vessels and ours. Randolph was then Attorney General ; but his 
opinion on the question I also entirely forget. Some vessels of 
war were accordingly built and sent into the Mediterranean. 
The additions to these in your time, I need not note to you, who 
are well known to have ever been an advocate for the vooden 
walls of ThemistO(,les. Some of those you added, were sold un- 
ler an act of Congress passed while you were in office. I thought, 


afterwards, that the public safety might require some additional 
vressels of strength, to be prepared and in readiness for the first 
moment of a war, provided they could be preserved against the 
decay which is unavoidable if kept in the water, and clear of the 
expense of officers and men. With this view I proposed that 
they should be built in dry docks, above the level of the tide 
waters, and covered with roofs. I further advised, that places 
for these docks should be selected where there was a command 
of water on a high level, as that of the Tyber at Washington, by 
which the vessels might be floated out, on the principle of a lock. 
But the majority of the legislature was against any addition to 
the navy, and the minority, although for it in judgment, voted 
against it on a principle of opposition. We are now, I under- 
stand, building vessels to remain on the stocks, under shelter, 
until wanted, when they will be laimched and finished. On my 
plan they could be in service at an hour's notice. On this, the 
finishing, after launching, will be a work of time. 

This is all I recollect about the origin and progress of our 
navy. That of the late war, certainly raised our rank and char- 
acter among nations. Yet a navy is a very expensive engine. 
It is admitted, that in ten or twelve years a vessel goes to entire 
decay; or, if kept in repair, costs as much as would build a new 
one ; and that a nation who could count on twelve or fifteen 
years of peace, would gain by burning its navy and building a 
new one in time. Its extent, therefore, must be governed by cir- 
cumstances. Since my proposition for a force adequate to the 
piracies of the Mediterranean, a similar necessity has arisen in 
our own seas for considerable addition to that force. Indeed, I 
wish we could have a convention with the naval powers of Eu- 
rope, for them to keep down the pirates of the Mediterranean, 
and the slave ships on the coast of Africa, and for us to perform 
the same duties for the society of nations in our seas. In this 
way, those collisions would be avoided between the vessels of 
war of different nations, which beget wars and constitute the 
weightiest objection to navies. I salute you with constant af- 
fection and respect. 



MoNTuiELLo, November 2. 1822. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of October the 18th came to hand 
yesterday. The atmosphere of our country is unquestionably 
charged with a threatening cloud of fanaticism, lighter in somb 
parts, denser in others, but too heavy in all. I had no idea, how- 
ever, that in Pennsylvania, the cradle of toleration and freedom 
of religion, it could have arisen to the height you describe. This 
must be owing to the growth of Presbyterianism. The blasphe- 
my and absurdity of the five points of Calvin, and the impossi- 
bility of defending them, render their advocates impatient of rea- 
soning, irritable, and prone to denunciation. In Boston, how- 
ever, and its neighborhood, Unitarianism has advanced to so 
great strength, as now to humble this haughtiest of all religious 
sects ; insomuch, that they condescend to interchange with them 
and the other sects, the civilities of preaching freely and frequent- 
ly in-each others' meeting houses. In Rhode Island, on the other 
hand, no sectarian preacher will permit an Unitarian to pollute 
his desk. In our Richmond there is much fanaticism, but chief- 
ly among the women. They have their night meetings and 
praying parties, where, attended by their priests, and sometimes 
by a hen-pecked husband, they pour forth the effusions of their 
love to Jesus, in terms as amatory and carnal, as their modesty 
would permit them to use to a mere earthly lover. In our village 
of Charlottesville, there is a good degree of religion, with a small 
spice only of fanaticism. We have four sects, but without either 
church or meeting-house. The court-house is the common tem- 
ple, one Sunday in the month to each. Here, Episcopalian and 
Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, meet together, join in hymn- 
ing their Maker, listen with attention and devotion to each others' 
preachers, and all mix in society with perfect harmony. It is 
not so in the districts where Presbyterianism prevails undivided- 
ly. Their ambition and tyranny would tolerate no rival if they 
had power. Systematical in grasping at an ascendency over all 
other sects, they aim, like the Jesuits, at engrossing the educa- 


tion of the country, are hostile to every institatioii which hey 
do not direct, and jealous at seeing others begin to attend at all 
to that object. The diffusion of instruction, to which there is 
now so growing an attention, will be the remote remedy to this 
fever of fanaticism ; while the more proximate one will be the 
progress of Unitarianism. That this will, ere long, be the reli- 
gion of the majority from north to south, I have no doubt. 

In our university you know there is no Professorship of Divin- 
ity. A handle has been made of this, to disseminate an idea 
that this is an institution, not merely of no religion, but against 
all religion. Occasion was taken at the last meeting of the Vis- 
itors, to bring forward an idea that might silence this calumny, 
which weighed on the minds of some honest friends to the in- 
stitution. In our annual report to the legislature, after stating 
the constitutional reasons against a public establishment of any 
religious instruction, we suggest the expediency of encouraging 
the different religious sects to establish, each for itself, a professor- 
ship of their own tenets, on the confines of the university, so near 
as that their students may attend the lectures there, and have the 
free use of our library, and every other accommodation we can 
give them ; preserving, however, their independence of us and of 
each other. This fills the chasm objected to ours, as a defect in 
an institution professing to give instruction in all useful sciences. 
I think the invitation will be accepted, by some sects from candid 
intentions, and by others from jealousy and rivalship. And by 
bringing the sects together, and mixing them with the mass of 
other students, we shall soften their asperities, liberalize and neu- 
tralize their prejudices, and make the general religion a religion 
of peace, reason, and morality. 

The time of opening our university is still as uncertain as 
ever. All the pavilions, boarding houses, and dormitories are 
done. Nothing is now wanting but the central building for a 
library and other general pm-poses. For this we have no funds, 
and the last legislature refused all aid. We have better hopes of 
the next. But all is uncertain. I have heard with regret of 
disturbances on the part of the students in your seminary. The 


article of discipline is the most diffioilt in American education 
Premature ideas of independence, too little repressed by parents 
beget a spirit of insubordination, which is the great obstacle tc 
science with us, and a principal cause of its decay since the rev- 
olution. I look to it with dismay in our institution, as a breaker 
ahead, which I am far from being confident we shall be able to 
weather. The advance of age, and tardy pace of the public pa- 
tronage, may probably spare me the pain of witnessing conse- 

I salute you with constant friendship and respect. 


MoNTioELLo, Novembev 10, 1822. 

Sib, — I have to acknowledge your favor of the 4th instant, 
which gives me the first information I had ever received that the 
laurels which Colonel Campbell so honorably won in the battle 
of King's Mountain, had ever been brought into question by any 
one. To him has been ever ascribed so much of the success of 
that brilliant action as the valor and conduct of an able com- 
mander might justly claim. This lessens nothing the merits of 
his companions in arms, ofl[icers and soldiers, who, all and every 
one, acted well their parts in their respective stations. I have no 
papers on this subject in my possession, all such received at that 
day having belonged to the records of the council, but I remem- 
ber well the deep and grateful impression made on the mind of 
every one by that memorable victory. It was the joyful annun- 
ciation of that turn of the tide of success which terminated the 
revolutionary war with the seal of our independence. The 
slighting expression complained of, as hazarded by the venerable 
Shelby, might seem inexcusable in a younger man, but he was 
then old, and I can assure you, dear Sir, from mortifying experi- 
ence, that the lapses of memory of an old man are innocent sub- 
jects of compassion more than of blame. The descendants of 
Colonel Campbell may rest thek heads quietly on the pillow of 


his reaown. History has consecrated, and will forever preserve 
it in the faithful annals of a grateful country. With the express- 
ions of the high sense I entertain of his character, accept the as- 
surance to youi'self of my great esteem and respect. 

P. S. I received at the same time with your letter, one from 
Mr. William C. Preston, on the same subject. Writing is so slow 
and painful to me, that I must pray you to make for me my ac 
knowledgments to him, and my request that he will consider this 
as an answer to his as well as your favor. 


N'oNTici-XLO. December 8. 18'2'2. 

SiE, — I have to thank you for your pamphlets on the subject 
of Unitarianism, and to express my gratification with your efforts 
for the revival of primitive Christianity in your quarter. No his- 
torical fact is better established, than that the doctrine of one 
God, pure and uncompounded, was that of the early ages of 
Christianity ; and was among the efficacious doctrines which 
gave it triumph over the polytheism of the ancients, sickened 
with the absurdities of their own theology. Nor was the unity 
of the Supreme Being ousted from the Christian creed by the 
force of reason, but by the sword of civil government, wielded 
at the will of the fanatic Athanasius. The hocus-pocus phan- 
tasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three 
heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and 
thousands of martyrs. And a strong proof of the solidity of the 
primitive faith, is its restoration, as soon as a nation arises which 
vindicates to itself the freedom of religious opinion, and its ex- 
ternal divorce from the civil authority. The pure and simple 
unity of the Creator of the universe, is now all but ascendant in 
the eastern States ; it is dawning in the west, and advancing to- 
wards the south ; and I confidently expect that the present gen- 
eration will see Unitariaxiism become the general religion of the 


United States. The eastern presses are giving us many excel- 
lent pieces on the subject, and Priestley's learned -writings on it 
are, or should be, in every hand. In fact, the Athanasian para- 
dox that one is three, and three but one, is so incomprehensible' 
to the human mind, that no candid man can say he has any idea 
of it, and how can he believe what presents no idea ? He who 
thinks he does, only deceives himself. He proves, also, that 
man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against 
absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, 
is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullabihty, 
which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, 
and the mind becomes a wreck. 

I write with freedom, because, while I claim a right to believe 
in one God, if so my reason tells me, I yield as freely to others 
that of believing in three. Both religions, I find, make honest 
men, and that is the only point society has any right to look to. . 
Although this mutual freedom should produce mutual indulgence, 
yet I wish not to be brought in question before the public on this 
or any other subject, and I pray you to consider me as writing 
under that trust. I take no part in controversies, religious or po- 
litical. At the age of eighty, tranquillity is the greatest good of 
life, and the strongest of our desires that of dying in the good 
will of all mankind. And with the assurance of all my good 
will to Unitarian and Trinitarian, to Whig and Tory, accept for 
yourself that of my entire respect. 


Mdntickt.i.o, February 2'), 1823. 

Dear Sib, — I have read with much satisfaction the reply of 
Mr. Everett, your brother, to the criticisms on his work on the 
ftate of Europe, and concur with him generally in the doctrines 
of the reply. Certainly provisions are not allowed, by the con- 
sent of nations, to be contraband but where everything is so, as 
in the case of a blockaded town, with which all intercourse is 


forbidden. On the question whether the principle of "free bot- 
toms making free goods, and enemy bottoms enemy goods," is 
now to be considered as established in the law of nations, I will 
state to you a fact within my own knowledge, which may lessen 
the weight of om* authority as having acted in the war of Prance 
and England on the ancient principle " that the goods of an 
enemy in the bottom of a friend are lawful prize ; while those 
of a friend in an enemy bottom are not so." England became a 
party in the general war against France on the 1st of February, 
1793. We took immediately the stand of neutrality. We were 
aware that our great intercourse with these two maritime nations 
would subject us to harassment by multiplied questions on the 
duties of neutrality, and that an important and early one would 
be which of the two principles above stated should be the law 
of action with us ? We wished to act on the new one of " free 
bottoms free goods;" and we had established it in our treaties 
with other nations, but not with England. We determined 
therefore to avoid, if possible, committing ourselves on this ques- 
tion until we could negotiate with England her acquiescence in 
the new principle. Although the cases occurring were mr- 
merous, and the ministers, Genet and Hammond, eagerly on the 
watch, we were able to avoid any declaration until the massacre 
of St. Domingo. The whites, on that occasion, took refuge on 
board our ships, then in their harbor, with all the property they 
could find room for ; and on their passage to the United States, 
many of them were taken by British cruisers, and their cargoes 
seized as lawful prize. The inflammable temper of Genet kin- 
dled at once, and he wrote, with his usual passion, a letter re- 
claiming an observance of the principle of " free bottoms free 
goods," as if already an acknowledged law of neutrality. I 
pressed him in conversation not to urge this point ; that although 
it had been acted on by convention, by the armed neutrahty, 
it was not yet become a principle of universal admission ; that 
we wished indeed to strengthen it by our adoption, and were ne- 
gotiating an acquiescence on the part of Great Britain : but if 
forced to decide prematurely, we must justify ourselves by a 


declaration of the ancient principle, and that no general consenl 
of nations had as yet changed it. He was immoveable, and on 
the 25th of July wrote a letter, so insulting, that nothing but a 
determined system of justice and moderation would have pre- 
vented his being shipped home in the first vessel. I had the 
day before answered his of the 9th, in which I had been obliged 
in our own justification, to declare that the ancient was the es- 
tablished principle, still existing and authoritative. Our denial, 
therefore, of the new principle, and action on the old one, wore 
forced upon us by the precipitation and intemperance of Genet, 
against our wishes, and against our aim ; and our involuntary 
practice, therefore, is of less authority against the new rule. 

I owe you particular thanks for the copy of you;: translation 
of Buttman's Greek Grammar, which you have been so kind as 
to send me. A cursory view of it promises me a rich mine of 
valuable criticism. I observe he goes with the herd of gram- 
marians in denying an Ablative case to the Greek language. I 
cannot concur with him in that, but think with the Messrs. 
of Port Royal who admit an Ablative. And why exclude it? 
Is it because the Dative and Ablative in Greek are always of the 
same form ? Then there is no Ablative to the Latin plurals, be- 
cause in them as in Greek, these case's are always in the same 
form. The Greeks recognized the Ablative under the appellation 
of the niuKfu ixpuioFfixi/, which I have met with and noted from 
some of the scholiasts, without recollecting where. Stephens, 
Scapula, Hederic acknowledge it as one of the significations of 
the word uif^uiut/ntuxo.. That the Greeks used it cannot be denied, 
For one of multiplied examples which may be produced take the 
following from the Hippolyttis of Euripides: " ^ul^ la i^o/iu, (}ixi;s 
E ti, Kin uvinr on,; luo: ," " dlc quo modo justiticB clava percussit 
eum," " quo modo" are Ablatives, then why not tw ijio ,« ? And 
translating it into English, should we use the *Dative or Ablative 
preposition ? It is not perhaps easy to define very critically 

*See Buttman's Datives, p. 230, every one of which I sliould consider as nnder 
-the accident or relation called Ablative, having no signification of approach ac- 
cording to his definition of the Dative. 


what constitutes a case in the declension of nonns. All agree 
IS to the Nominative that it is simply the name of the thing. If 
we admit that a distinct case is constituted by any accident or 
modification which changes the relation which that bears to the 
actors or action of the sentence, we must agree to the six cases 
at least ; because, for example, to a thing, and from a thing are 
very different accidents to the thing. It may be said that if 
every distinct accident or change of relation constitutes a differ- 
ent case, then there are in every language as many cases as there 
are prepositions; for this is the peculiar office of the preposition. 
But because we do not designate by special names all the cases 
to which a noun is liable,' is that a reason why we should throw 
away half of those we have, as is done by those grammarians 
who reject all cases, but the Nominative, Genitive, and Accu- 
sative, and in a less degree by those also who reject the Ablative 
alone ? as pushing the discrimination of all the possible cases te 
extremities leads us to nothing useful or practicable, I am con 
tented with the old six cases, familiar to every cultivated Ian 
guage, ancient and modern, and well understood by all. I ac- 
Knowledge myself at the same time not an adept in the meta- 
physical speculations of Grammar. By analyzing too minutely 
we often reduce our subject to atoms, of which the mind loses 
its hold. Nor am I a friend to a scrupulous purism of style. I 
readily sacrifice the niceties of syntax to euphony and strength. 
It is by boldly neglecting the rigorisms of grammar, that Tacitus 
has made himself the strongest writer in the world. The Hy- 
peresitics call him barbarous ; but I should be sorry to exchange 
his barbarisms for their wise-drawn purisms. Some of his sen- 
tences are as strong as language can make them. Had he scru- 
pulously filled up the whole of their syntax, they would have 
been merely common. To explain my meaning by an English 
example, I will quote the motto of one, I believe, of the regi- 
cides of Charles I., " Rebellion to tyrants is obedience t ) God." 
Oorrect its syntax, " Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to 
God," it has lost all the strength and beauty of the antithesis. 
However, dear Sir, I profess again my want of familiarity with 



these speculations ; I hazard them without confidence, and offe' 
them submissively to your consideration and more practised 

Although writing, with both hands crippled, is slow and pain- 
ful, and therefore nearly laid aside from necessity, I have been 
decoyed by my subjects into a very long letter. What would 
therefore have been a good excuse fdr ending with the first page 
cannot be a bad one for concluding in the fourth, with the as- 
surance of my great esteem and respect. 


MoNTiOELLO, Febviiary 25, 1823. 

Dear Sir, — I received, in due time, your two favors of De- 
cember the 2d and February the 10th, and have to acknowledge 
for the ladies of my native State their obligations to you for the 
enconiums which you are so kind as to bestow on them. They 
certainly claim no advantages over those of their sister States, 
and are sensible of more favorable circumstances existing with 
many of them, and happily availed, which our situation does not 
offer. But the paper respecting Monticello, to which you allude, 
was not written by a Virginian, but a visitant from another 
State ; and written by memory at least a dozen years after the 
visit. This has occasioned some lapses of recollection, and a 
confusion of some things in the mind of our friend, and particu- 
larly as to the volume of slanders supposed to have been cut out 
of newspapers and preserved. It would not, indeed, have been 
a single volume, but an encyclopedia in bulk. But I never had 
such a volume ; indeed, I rarely thought those libels worth read- 
ing, much less preserving and remembering. At the end of 
every year, I generally sorted all my pamphlets, and had them 
bound according to their subjects. One of these volumes con- 
sisted of personal altercations between individuals, and calum- 
nies on each other. This was lettered on the back, " Personal- 
ities," and is now in the library of Congress. I was in the habit, 


also, while living apart from my family, of cutting out of the 
newspapers such morsels of poetry, or tales, as I thought would 
^jlease, and of sending them to my grandchildren, who pasted 
them on leaves of blank paper and formed them into a book. 
These two volumes have been confounded into one in the recol- 
lection of our friend. Her poetical imagination, too, has height- 
ened the scenes she visited, as well as the merits of the inhabit- 
ants, to whom her society was a delightful gratification. 

I have just finished reading O'Meara's Bonaparte. It places 
him in a higher scale of understanding than I had allotted him. 
I had thought him the greatest of all military captains, but an 
indifferent statesman, and misled by unworthy passions. The 
flashes, however, which escaped from him in these conversa- 
tions with O'Meara, prove a mind of great expansion, although 
not of distinct development and reasoning. He seizes results 
with rapidity and penetration, but never explains logically the 
process of reasoning by which he arrives at them. This book, 
too, makes us forget his atrocities for a moment, in commisera- 
tion of his sufferings. I will not say that the authorities of the 
world, charged with the care of their country and people, had 
not a right to confine him for life, as a lion or tiger, on the prin- 
ciple of self-preservation. There was no safety to nations while 
he was permitted to roam at large. But the putting him to death 
in cold blood, by lingering tortures of mind, by vexations, insults 
and deprivations, was a degree of inhumanity to which the pois- 
onings and assassinations of the school of Borgia and the den of 
Marat never attained. The book proves, also, that nature had 
denied him the moral sense, the first excellence of well-organized 
man. If he could seriously and repeatedly affirm that he had 
raised himself to power without ever having committed a crime, 
it proves that he wanted totally the sense of right and wrong. 
If he could consider the millions of human lives which he had 
destroyed or caused to be destroyed, the desolations of countries 
by plunderings, burnings, and famine, the destitutions of lawful 
rulers of the world without the consent of their constituents, to 
place his brothers and sisters on their thrones, the cutting up of 


established societies of men and jumbling them discordantly to- 
gether again at his caprice, the demolition of the fairest hopes of 
mankind for the recovery of their rights and amelioration of their 
condition, and all the numberless train of his other enormities ; 
the man, I say, who could consider all these as no crimes, must 
have been a moral monster, against whom every hand should 
have been lifted to slay him. 

You are so kind as to inquire after my health. The bone of 
my arm is well knitted, but my hand and fingers are in a dis- 
couraging condition, kept entirely useless by an cedematous swell- 
ing of slow amendment. 

God bless you and continue your good health of body and mind 


MoNTicEi.Lo, March 4, 1823. 

Deak Sir, — I delayed some time the acknowledgment of your 
welcome letter of December 10th, on the common lazy principle 
of never doing to-day what we can put oflf to to-morrow, until 
it became doubtful whether a letter would find you at Charies- 
ton. Learning now that you are at Washington, I will reply to 
some particulars which seem to require it. 

The North American Review is a work 1 do not take, and 
which is little known in this State, consequently I have never 
seen its observations on your inestimable history, but a reviewer 
can never let a work pass uncensured. He must always make 
himself wiser than his author. He would otherwise think it an 
abdication of his office of censor. On this occasion, he seems to 
have had more sensibility for Virginia than she has for herself; 
for, on reading the work, I saw nothing to touch our pride or jeal- 
ousy, but every expression of respect and good will which truth 
could justify. The family of enemies, whose buzz you appre- 
hend, are now nothing. You may learn this at Washington ; 
and their military relation has long ago had the full-voiced con- 
demnation of his own State. Do not fear, therefore, these in- 


sects. Wliat you write will be far above their grovelling sphere. 
Let me, then, implore you, dear Sir, to finish your history of par- 
ties, leaving the time of publication to the state of things you 
may deem proper, but taking especial cure that we do not lose it 
altogether. We have been too careless of our future reputation, 
while our tories will omit nothing to place us in the wrong. Be- 
sides the five-volumed libel which represents us as struggling for 
of&ce, and not at all to prevent our government from being ad- 
ministered into a monarchy, the life of Hamilton is in the hands 
of a man who, to the bitterness of the priest, adds the rancor of 
the fiercest federalism. Mr. Adams' papers, too, and his biogra- 
phy, will descend of course to his son, whose pen, you know, is 
pointed, and his prejudices not in our favor. And doubtless other 
things are in preparation, unknown to us. On our part we are 
depending on truth to make itself known, while history is taking 
a contrary set which may become too inveterate for correction. 
Mr. Madison will probably leave something, but I believe, only 
particular passages of our history, and these chiefly confined to 
the period between the dissolution of the old and commencement 
of the new government, which is peculiarly within his knowl- 
edge. After he joined me in the administration, he had no leis- 
ure to write. This, too, was my case. But although I had not 
time to prepare anything express, my letters, (all preserved) will 
furnish the daily occurrences and views from my return from 
Europe in 1790, till I retired finally from office. These will 
command more conviction than anything I could have written 
after my retirement ; no day having ever passed during that pe- 
riod without a letter to somebody, written too in the moment, 
and in the warmth and freshness of fact and feeling, they will 
carry internal evidence that what they breathe is genuine. Se- 
lections from these, after my death, may come out successively 
as the maturity of circumstances may render their appearance 
seasonable. But multiplied testimony, multiplied views will be 
necessary to give solid establishment to truth. Much is known 
to one which is not known to another, and no one knows every- 
thing. It is the sum of individual knowledge which is to make 


lip the whole truth, and to give its correct current through future 
time. Then do not, dear Sir, withhold your stock of informa- 
tion ; and I would moreover recommend that you trust it not to 
a single copy, nor to a single depository. Leave it not in the 
power of any one person, under the distempered view of an un- 
lucky moment, to deprive us of the weight of your testimony, 
and to purchase, by its destruction, the favor of any party or per- 
sorij as happened with a paper of Dr. Franklin's. 

I cannot lay down my pen without recurring to one of the 
subjects of my former letter, for in truth there is no danger I ap- 
prehend so much as the consolidation of our government by the 
noiseless, and therefore unalarming, instrumentality of the su- 
preme court. This is the form in which federalism now arrays 
itself, and consolidation is the present principle of distinction 
between republicans and the pseudo-republicans but real federal- 
ists. I must comfort myself with the hope that the judges will 
see the importance and the duty of giving their country the only 
evidence they can give of fidelity to its constitution and integrity 
in the administration of its laws ; that is to say, by every one's 
giving his opinion seriatim and publicly on the cases he decides. 
Let him prove by his reasoning that he has read the papers, that 
he has considered the case, that in the application of the law to 
■ it, he uses his own judgment independently and unbiased by 
party views and personal favor or disfavor. Throw himself in 
every case on God and his country ; both will excuse him for 
error and value him for his honesty. The very idea of cooking 
up opinions in conclave, begets suspicions that something passes 
which fears the public ear, and this, spreading by degrees, must 
produce at some time abridgment of tenure, facility of removal, 
or some other modification which may promise a remedy. For 
m truth there is at this time more hostility to the federal judi- 
ciary, than to any other organ of the government. 

I should greatly prefer, as you do, four judges to any greater 
number. Great lawyers are not over abundant, and the multipli- 
cation of judges only enable the weak to out-vote the wise, and 


three concurrent opinions out of four gives a strong presumption 
of right. 

I cannot better prove my entire coniidence in your candor, 
than by the frankness with which I commit myself to you, and 
to this I add with truth, assurances of the sincerity of my great 
esteem and respect. 


QuiNcy, March 10, 1823. 

Dear Sir, — The sight of your well known hand writing in 
your favor of 25th February last, gave me great pleasure, as it 
proved your arm to be restored, and your pen still manageable. 
May it continue till you shall become as perfect a Galvinist as I 
am in one particular. Pqor Calvin's infirmities, his rheumatism, 
liis gouts and sciatics, made him frequently cry out, Mon dieu, 
jusqu'd quand. Lord, how long! Prat, once chief justice 
of New York, always tormented with infirmities, dreamt that he 
was situated on a single rock in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean. 
He heard a voice : 

"Why mourns the bard, Apollo bids thee rise, 
Renounce the dust, and claim thy native skies.'' 

The ladies' visit to Monticello has put my readers in requisi- 
tion to read to me Simons' travels in Switzerland. I, thought I 
had some knowledge of that country before, but I find I had no 
idea of it. How degenerated are the Swiss. They might de- 
fend their country against France, Austria, and Russia ; neither 
of whom ought to be sufiered to march armies over their moun- 
tains. Those powers have practiced as much tyranny, and im- 
morality, as even the emperor Napoleon did over them, or over 
the royalists of Germany or Italy. 

Neither France, Austria, or Spain, ought to have a foot of land 
in Italy. All conquerors are alike. Every one of them. Jui-a 
negat sihi lati, nihil non arrogat armis. We have nothing but 


fables concerning Theseus, Bacchus, and Hercules, and even 
Sesostris ; but I dare say that every one of them was as tyranni- 
cal and immoral as Napoleon. Nebuchadnezzar is the first great 
conqueror of whom we have anything like history, and he was 
as great as any of them. Alexander and Ca3sar were more im- 
moral than Napoleon. Zingis Khan was as great a conqueror as 
any of them, and destroyed as many millions of lives, and thought 
he had a right to the whole globe, if he could subdue it. 

What are we to think of the crusades in which three millions 
of lives at least were probably sacrificed. And what right had 
St. Louis and Richard Cosur de Lion to Palestine and Syria 
more than Alexander to India, or Napoleon to Egypt and Italy ? 
Right and justice have hard fare in this Avorld, but there is a 
power above who is capable and willing to put all things right 
in the end ; et pour mettre chacun a sa place dans Vuniverse, and 
I doubt not he will. 

Mr. English, a Bostonian, has published a volume of his expe- 
dition with Ishmael Pashaw, up the river Nile. He advanced 
above the third cataract, and opens a prospect of a resurrection 
from the dead of those vast and ancient countries of Abyssinia 
and Ethiopia ; a free communication with India, and the river 
Niger, and the city of Tombuctoo. This, however, is conjec- 
ture and speculation rather than certainty ; but a free communica- 
tion by land between Europe and India will ere long be opened. 
A few American steamboats, and our Quincy stone-cutters would 
soon make the Nile as navigable as our Hudson, Potomac, or 
Mississippi. You see as my reason and intellect fails, my imag- 
ination grows more wild and ungovernable, but my friendship 
remains the same. Adieu. 


MoNTicuLLO, April U, 1823. 

De.\h Silt, — The wishes expressed in your last favor, that I 
may continue in life and health until I become a Calvinist, at 
least in his exclamation of, •' Mon Dieu ! jusqu'u quand !" would 


make me immortal. I can never join Calvin in addressing his 
God. He was indeed an atheist, which I can never be ; or rather 
his religion was daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false 
God, he did. The being described in his five points, is not the 
God whom you and I acknowledge and adore, the creator and 
benevolent governor of the world ; but a dasmon of malignant 
spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no God at all, 
than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin. In- 
deed, I think that every Christian sect gives a great handle to 
atheism by their general dogma, that, without a revelation, there 
would not be sufficient proof of the being of a God. Now one- 
sixth of mankind only are supposed to be Christians ; the other 
five-sixths then, who do not believe in the Jewish and Christian 
revelation, are without a knowledge of the existence of a God ! 
This gives completely a gain de cause to the disciples of Ocel- 
lus, Timseus, Spinosa, Diderot and D'Holbach. The argument 
which they rest on as triumphant and unanswerable is, that in 
every hypothesis of cosmogony, you must admit an eternal pre- 
existence of something ; and according to the rule of sound phil- 
osophy, you are never to employ two principles to solve a diffi- 
culty when one will suffice. They say then, that it is more 
simple to believe at once in the eternal pre-existence of the world, 
as it is now going on, and may forever go on by the principle of 
reproduction which we see and witness, than to believe in the 
eternal pre-existence of an ulterior cause, or creator of the world, 
a being whom we see not and know not, of whose form, sub- 
stance and mode, or place of existence, or of action, no sense in- 
forms us, no power of the mind enables us to delineate or com- 
prehend. Oil the contrary, I hold, (without appeal to revelation) 
that when we take a view of the universe, in its parts, general or 
particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive 
and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite 
power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the 
heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their com'se by the balance 
of centrifugal and centripetal forces ; the structure of our earth it- 
self, with its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere ; ani- 


inal and vegetable bodies, examined in ail their minutest parti- 
cles ; insects, mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized aa 
man or mammoth ; the mineral substances, their generation and 
uses ; it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe, 
that there is in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate 
cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their 
preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their presejit 
forms, and their regeneratiou into new and other forms. We see, 
too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power, to 
main-tain the universe in its course and order. Stars, well known, 
have disappeared, new ones have come into view ; comets, in 
their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets, and 
require renovation under other laws ; certain races of animals are 
become extinct ; and were there no restoring power, all existences 
might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be re- 
duced to a shapeless chaos. So irresistible are these evidences 
of an intelligent and powerful agent, that, of the infinite numbers 
of men who have existed through all time, they have believed, 
in the proportion of a million at least to unit, in the hypothesis 
of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a 
self-existent universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders 
this more probable, than that of the few in the other hypothesis. 
Some early Christians, indeed, have believed in the co-eternal pre- 
existence of both the creator and the world, without changing 
their relation of cause and effect. That this was the opinion of 
St. Thomas, we are informed by Cardinal Toleta, in these words. 
" Deus ah cBterno fuit jaTn omnipoteiis, sicut cum prodiixit mun- 
dum. Ah aterno potuit producere mundwin. Si sol ah cBterno 
esset, lumen ah aterno essel ; et si pes, similiter vesiigiuiii. At 
lumen et vestigium ejfectiis sunt efficientis solis et pedis ; potuit 
ergo cuiiij causa ceterna effectus co-ceierna esse. Cujus sefitentia 
est S. Thomas theologorum, priinus." — Cardinal Toleta. 

Of the nature of this being we know nothing. Jesus tells us, 
that " God is a spirit." 4. John 24. But without defming what 
a spirit is: ' Jipt uftu 'o ti toe." Down to the third century, we 
know it was still deemed material ; but of a lighter, subtler mat- 


ter than our gross bodies. So says Origeri, " Deus igittir, cui 
anima similis est, juxta originem, reapte corporaks est; sed 
graviorum tantuin ratione corporum incorporeus." These are 
the words of Huet in his commentary on Origen. Origen him- 
self says, " appellatio u^uiumnu apud nostras scriptores est inusl- 
tata et incognita." So also TertuUian ; " quis autetn negahit 
deum esse corpus etsi deus spiritus ? Spiritus etiam corporis 
sui generis, in sua effigie." — Tertullian. These two fathers were 
of the third century. Calvin's character of this Supreme Being 
seems chiefly copied from that of the Jews. But the reformation 
of these blasphemous attributes, and substitution of those more 
worthy, pure, and sublime, seems to have been the chief object 
of Jesus in his discourses to the Jews ; and his doctine of the cos- 
mogony of the world is very clearly laid down in the three first 
verses of the first chapter of John, in these words : '■ 'Ei- uo/i; tji' i 

loyog, Hul u )^6yoi ^i' TT^i)^ TOP htiiv , uui (:)toz^t oXuvik, Ovio^ ^r it' ufj/rf npog 
Till' (-Jfni , Hum i< 01 itvTin' i-f ii' tTO- xul Xi-jolg ut' (0 ' fv^c- in i)ui)e 5i', v vt'j niei'.^^ 

Which truly translated means, " In the beginning God existed, and 
reason [or mind] was with God, and that mind was God. This was 
in the beginning with God. All things were created by it, and 
without it was made not one thing which was made." Yet this 
text, so plainly declaring the doctrine of Jesus, that the world 
was created by the supreme, intelligent being, has been pervert- 
ed by modern Christians to build up a second person of their 
tritheism, by a mistranslation of the word in; r... One of its legit- 
imate meanings, indeed, is " a word." But in that sense it makes 
an unmeaning jargon ; while the other meaning, " reason," equal- 
ly legitimate, explains rationally the eternal pre-existence of God, 
and his creation of the world. Knowing how incomprehensible 
it was that "a word," the mere action or articulation of the or- 
gans of speech could create a world, th«y undertook to make of 
this articulation a second pre-existing being, and ascribe to him, 
and not to God, the creation of the universe. The atheist here 
plumes himself on the uselessness of such a God, aqd the simpler 
hypothesis of a self-existent universe. The truth is, that the 
greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those, calling them- 


selves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the 
structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and 
without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will 
come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme 
Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with 
the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. 
But we may hope that the dawn of reason, and freedom of 
thought in these United States, will do away all this artificial 
scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines 
of this the most venerated reformer of human errors. 

So much for your quotation of Calvin's " mon Dieu ! jusqu'd, 
quand !" in which, when addressed to the God of Jesus, and our 
God, I join you cordially, and await his time and will with more 
readiness than reluctance. May we meet there again, in Con- 
gress, with our ancient colleagues, and receive with them the 
seal of approbation, " well done, good and faithful servants." 


MoNTiOELLo, May 3, 1823. 

Dear General, — I duly received your favor of the 24th ult. 
But I am rendered a slow correspondent by the loss of the use, 
totally of the one, and almost totally of the other wrist, which 
renders writing scarcely and painfully practicable. I learn with 
great satisfaction that wholsome economies have been found, 
sufficient to relieve us from the ruinous necessity of adding an- 
nually to our debt by new loans. The deviser of so salutary a 
relief deserves truly well of his country. I shall be glad, too, if 
an additional tax of one-fourth of a dollar a gallon on whiskey 
shall enable us to meet all our engagements with punctuality. 
Viewing that tax as an article in a system of excise, I was 
once glad to see it fall with the rest of the system, which I con- 
sidered as prematurely and unnecessarily introduced. It was evi- 
dent that our existing taxes were then equal to our existing debts. 
It was clearly foreseen also that the surplus from excise would 


only become aliment for useless offices, and would be swallowed 
in idleness by those whom it would withdraw from useful indus- 
try. Considering it only as a fiscal measare, this was right. But 
the prostration of body and mind which the cheapness of this 
liquor is spreading through the mass of our citizens, now calls 
the attention of the legislator on a very different principle. One 
of his important duties is as guardian of those who from causes 
susceptible of precise definition, cannot take care of themselves. 
Such are infants, maniacs, gamblers, drunkards. The last, as 
much as the maniac, requires restrictive measures to save him 
from the fatal infatuation under which he is destroying his health, 
his morals, his family, and his usefulness to society. One pow- 
erful obstacle to his ruinous self-indulgence would be a price be- 
yond his competence. As a sanatory measure, therefore, it be- 
comes one of duty in the public guardians. Yet I do not think 
it follows necessarily that imported spirits should be subjected to 
similar enhancement, until they become as cheap as those made 
at home. A tax on whiskey is to discourage its consumption ; a 
tax on foreign spirits encourages whiskey by removing its rival 
from competition. The price and present duty throw foreign 
spirits already out of competition with whiskey, and accordingly 
they are used but tc a salutary extent. You see no persons be- 
sotting themselves with imported spirits, wines, liquors, cordials, 
&c. Whiskey claims to itself alone the exclusive office of sot- 
making. Foreign spirits, wines, teas, coffee, segars, salt, are ar- 
ticles of as innocent consumption as broadcloths and silks and 
onght, like them, to pay but the average ad valoi'em duty of 
other imported comforts. All of them are ingredients in our hap- 
piness, and the government which steps out of the ranks of the 
ordinary articles of consumption to select and lay under dispro- 
portionate burthens a particular one, because it is a comfort, 
pleasing to the taste, or necessary to health, and will therefore 
be bought, is, in that particular, a tyranny. Taxes on consump- 
tion like those on capital or income, to be just, must be uniform. 
I do not mean to say that it may not be for the general interest 
to foster for awhile certain infant manufactures, untU they are 


strong enough to stand against foreign rivals ; but wlien evident 
that they will never be so, it is against right, to make the other 
branches of industry support them. When it was found that 
France could not make sugar under 6 h. a lb., was it not tyran- 
ny to restrain her citizens from importing at 1 h. ? or would it 
not have been so to have laid a duty of 5 h. on the imported ? 
The permitting an exchange of industries with other nations is a 
direct encouragement of your own, which without that, would 
bring you nothing for your comfort, and would of course cease 
to be produced. 

On the question of the next Presidential election, I am a mere 
looker on. I never permit myself to express an opinion, or to feel 
a wish on the subject. I indulge a single hope only, that the 
choice may fall on one who will be a friend of peace, of econo- 
my, of the republican principles of our constitution, and of the 
salutary distribution of powers made by that between the gener- 
al and the local governments, to this, I ever add sincere prayers 
for your happiness and prosperity. 


MoNTiCELi.n, May 29. 1823. 

I thank you. Sir, for the copy of the letters of Paul and Ami- 
cus, which you have been so kind as to send me, and shall learn 
from them with satisfaction the peculiar tenets of the Friends, 
and particularly their opinions on the incomprehensibilities 
(otherwise called the mysteries) of the trinity. I think with 
them on many points, and especially on missionary and Bible 
societies. While we have so many around us, within the same 
social pale, who need instruction and assistance, why carry to a 
distance, and to strangers what our own neighbors need ? It is 
a duty certainly to give our sparings to those who want ; but to 
see also that they are faithfully distributed, and duly apportioned 
to the respective wants of those receivers. And why give through 
agents whom we know not, to persons whom we know not, and 


in countries from which we get no account, when we can do it 
at short hand, to objects under our eye, through agents we know, 
and to supply wants we see ? I do not know that it is a duty 
to disturb by missionaries the rehgion and peace of other coun- 
tries, who may thinlc themselves bound to extinguish by fire 
and fagot the heresies to which we give the name of conver- 
sions, and quote our own example for it. Were the Pope, or hi? 
holy allies, to send in mission to us some thousands of Jesuit 
priests to convert us to their orthodoxy, I suspect that we should 
deem and treat it as a national aggression on our peace and faith. 
I salute you in the spirit of peace and good will. 


iroNTicKLi.o, June 11, 1823 

Dear Sir, — Considering that I had not been to Bedford for a 
twelvemonth before, I thought myself singularly unfortunate in 
so timing my journey, as to have been absent exactly at the mo- 
ment of your late visit to our neighborhood. The loss, indeed, 
was all my own ; for in these short interviews, with you, I gen- 
erally get my political compass rectified, learn from you where- 
abouts we are, and correct my course again. In exchaiige for 
this, I can give you but newspaper ideas, and little indeed of 
these, for I read but a single paper, and that hastily. I find 
Horace and Tacitus so much better writers than the champions 
of the gazettes, that I lay those down to take up these with 
great reluctance. And on the question you propose, whether 
we can, in any form, take a bolder attitude than formerly in 
favor of liberty, I can give you but commonplace ideas. They 
will be but the widow's mite, and offered only because requested. 
The matter which now embroils Europe, the presumption of 
dictating to an independent nation the form of its government, 
is so arrogant, so atrocious, that indignation, as well as moral 
sentiment, enlists all our partialities and prayers in favor of one, 
and our equal execrations against the other. 1 do not know, 


indeed, whether all nations do not owe to one another a bold 
and open declaration of their sympathies with the one party, 
and their detestation of the conduct of the other. But farther 
than this we are not bound to go ; and indeed, for the sake of 
the world, we ought not to increase the jealousies, or draw on 
ourselves the power of this formidable confederacy. I have 
ever deemed it fundamental for the United States, never to take 
active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests 
are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their 
balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and 
principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are na- 
tions of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the de- 
struction of the labor, property and lives of their people. On our 
part, never had a people so favorable a chance of trying the op- 
posite system, of peace and fraternity with mankind, and the 
direction of all our means and faculties to the purposes of im- 
provement instead of destruction. With Europe we have few 
occasions of collision, and these, with a little prudence and for- 
bearance, may be generally accommodated. Of the brethren 
of our own hemisphere, none are yet, or for an age to come will 
be, in a shape, condition, or disposition t" war against us. And 
the foothold which the nations of Europe nad in either America, 
is slipping from under them, so that we shall soon be rid of their 
neighborhood. Cuba alone seems at present to hold up a speck 
of war to us. Its possession by Great Britain would indeed be 
a great calamity to us. Could we induce her to join us in guar- 
anteeing its independence against all the world, except Spain, it 
would be nearly as valuable to us as if it were our own. But 
should she take it, I would not immediately go to war for it ; 
because the first war on other accounts will give it to us ; or the 
island will give itself to us, when able to do so. While no duty, 
therefore, calls on us to take part in the present war of Europe, 
and a golden harvest offers itself in reward for doing nothing, 
peace and neutrality seem to be our duty and interest. We may 
gratify ourselves, indeed, with a neutrality as partial to Spain as 
would be justifiable without giving cause of war to her adver- 


sary ; we might and ought to avail ourselves of the happy occa- 
sion of procuring and cementing a cordial reconciliation with 
her, hy giving assurance of every friendly office which neu- 
trality admits, and especially, against all apprehension of our 
intermeddling in the quarrel with her colonies. And I expect 
daily and confidently to hear of a spark kindled in France, 
which will employ her at home, and relieve Spain from all fur- 
ther apprehensions of danger. 

That England is playing false with Spain cannot be doubted. 
Her government is looking one way and rowing another. It is 
curious to look back a little on past events. During the ascen- 
dancy of Bonaparte, the word among the herd of kings, was 
" sauve qui pent." Each shifted for himself, and left his brethren 
to squander and do the same as they could. After the battle of 
Waterloo, and the military possession of France, they rallied and 
combined in common cause, to maintain each other against any 
similar and future danger. And in this alliance, Louis, now 
avowedly, and George, secretly but solidly, were of the con- 
tracting parties ; and there can be no doubt that the allies are 
bound by treaty to aid England with their armies, should insur- 
rection take place among her people. The coquetry she is now 
playing off between her people and her allies is perfectly under- 
stood by the latter, and accordingly gives no apprehensions to 
France, to whom it is all explained. The diplomatic corres- 
pondence she is now displaying, these double papers fabricated 
merely for exhibition, in which she makes herself talk of morals 
and principle, as if her qualms of conscience would not permit 
her to go all lengths with her Holy Allies, are all to gull her own 
people. It is a theatrical farce, in which the five powers are the 
actors, England the Tartufle, and her people the dupes. Playing 
thus so dextrously into each others' hands, and their own persons 
seeming secured, they are now looking to their privileged orders. 
These faithful auxiliaries, or accomplices, must be saved. This 
war is evidently that of the general body of the aristocracy, in 
which England is also acting her part. " Save but the Nobles 
and there shall be no war," says she, masking her measures at 

VOL. VI[. 19 


the same time under the form of friendship and mediation, and 
hypocritically, while a party, oflfering herself as a judge, to betray 
those whom she is not permitted openly to oppose. A fraudulent 
neutrality, if neutrality at all, is all Spain will get from her. 
And Spain, probably, perceives this, and willingly winks at it 
rather than have her weight thrown openly into the other scale. 
But I am going beyond my text, and sinning against the adage 
of carrying coals to Newcastle. In hazarding to you my crude 
and uninformed notions of things beyond my cognizance, only 
be so good as to remember that it is at your request, and with as 
little confidence on my part as profit on yours. You will do 
what is right, leaving the people of Europe to act their follies 
and crimes among themselves, while we pursue in good faith 
the paths of peace and prosperity. To your judgment we are 
willingly resigned, with sincere assurances of affectionate esteem 
and respect. 


MoNTiCEi.t.o, June 12, 1823. 

Dear Sir, — Our correspondence is of that accommodating 
character, which admits of suspension at the convenience of 
either party, without inconvenience to the other. Hence this 
tardy acknowledgment of your favor of April the 11th. I learn 
from that with great pleasure, that you have resolved on con- 
tinuing your history of parties. Our opponents are far ahead of 
us in preparations for placing their cause favorably before pos- 
terity. Yet I hope even from some of them the escape of pre- 
cious truths, in angry explosions or effusions of vanity, which will 
betray the genuiae monarchism of their principles. They do 
not themselves believe what they endeavor to inculcate, that we 
were an opposition party, not on principle, but merely seeking 
for ofHce. The fact is, that at the formation of our government, 
many had formed their political opinions on European writings 
and practices, believing the experience of old countries, and es- 
pecially of England, abusive as it was, to be a safer guide thai 


mere theory. The doctrines of Europe were, that men in nu- 
merous associations cannot be restrained within the Hmits of 
order and justice, but by forces physical and moral, wielded over 
them by authorities independent of their will. Hence their or- 
ganization of kings, hereditary nobles, and priests. Still furthei 
to constrain the brute force of the people, they deem it necessary 
to keep them down by hard labor, poverty and ignorance, and 
to take from them, as from bees, so much of their earnings, as 
that unremitting labor shall be necessary to obtain a sufficient 
surplus barely to sustain a scanty and miserable life. And these 
earnings they apply to maintain their privileged orders in splen- 
dor and idleness, to fascinate the eyes of the people, and excite 
in them an humble adoration and submission, as to an order of 
superior beings. Although few among us had gone all these 
lengths of opinion, yet many had advanced, some more, some 
less, on the way. And in the convention which formed our 
government, they endeavored to draw the cords of power as tight 
as Ihey could obtain them, to lessen the dependence of the gen- 
eral functionaries on their constituents, to subject to them those 
of the States, and to weaken their means of maintaining the 
steady equilibrium which the majority of the convention had 
deemed salutary for both branches, general and local. To re- 
cover, therefore, in practice the powers which the nation had 
refused, and to warp to their own wishes those actually given, 
was the steady object of the federal party. Ours, on the con- 
trary, was to maintain the will of the majority of the conven- 
tion, and of the people themselves. We believed, with them, 
that man was a rational animal, endowed by nature with rights, 
and with an innate sense of justice ; and that he could be re- 
strained from wrong and protected in right, by moderate powers, 
confided to persons of his own choice, and held to their duties 
by dependence on his own will. We believed that the compli- 
cated organization of kings, nobles, and priests, was not the 
wisest nor best to effect the happiness of associated man ; that 
wisdom and virtue were not hereditary ; that the trappings of 
such a machinery, consumed by their expense, those earnings of 


industry, they were meant to protect, and, by the inequalities 
they produced, exposed liberty to sufferance. We believed that 
men, enjoying in ease and security the full fruits of their own 
industry, enlisted by all their interests on the side of law and 
order, habituated to think for themselves, and to follow their 
reason as their guide, would be more easily and safely governed, 
than with minds nourished ia error, and vitiated and debased, 
as in Europe, by ignorance, indigence and oppression. The 
cherishment of the people then was our principle, the fear and 
distrust of them, that of the other party. Composed, as we wet's, 
of the landed and laboring interests of the country, we could not 
be less anxious for a government of law and order than were the 
inhabitants of the cities, the strongholds of federalism. And 
whether our efforts to save the principles and form of our consti- 
tution have not been salutary, let the present republican freedom, 
order and prosperity of our country determine. History may 
distort truth, and will distort it for a time, by the superior efforts, 
at justification of those who are conscious of needing it most. 
Nor will the opening scenes of our present government be seen 
in their true aspect, until the letters of the day, now held in pri- 
vate hoards, shall be broken up and laid open to public view. 
What a treasure will be found in General Washington's cabinet, 
when it shall pass into the hajids of as candid a friend to truth as 
he was himself ! When no longer, like Caesar's notes and memo- 
randums in the hands of Anthony, it shall be open to the high 
priests of federalism only, and garbled to say so much, and no 
'more, as suits their views ! 

With respect to his farewell address, to the authorship of 
which, it seems, there are conflicting claims, I can state to you 
some facts. He had determined to decline a re-election at the 
end of his first term, and so far determined, that he had requested 
Mr. Madison to prepare for him something valedictory, to be ad- 
dressed to his constituents on his retirement. This was done, 
but he was finally persuaded to acquiesce in a second election, 
to which no one more strenuously pressed him than myself, from 
a 'conviction of the importance of strengthening, by longer habit, 


the respect necessary for that office, which the weight of his char- 
acter only coiild effect. When, at the end of this second term, 
his Valedictory came out, Mr. Madison recognized in it several 
passages of his draught, several others, we were both satisfied, 
were from the pen of Hamilton, and others from that of the Pres- 
ident himself. These he probably put into the hands of Hamil- 
ton to form into a whole, and hence it may all appear in Hamil- 
ton's hand-writing, as if it were all of his composition. 

I have stated above, that the original objects of the federalists 
were, 1st, to warp our government more to the form and princi- 
ples of monarchy, and, 2d, to weaken the barriers of the State 
governments as coordinate powers. In the first they have been 
so completely foiled by the universal spirit of the nation, that 
they have abandoned the enterprise, shrunk from the odium of 
their old appellation, taken to themselves a participation of ours, 
and under the pseudo-republican mask, are now aiming at their 
second object, and strengthened by unsuspecting or apostate re- 
cruits from our ranks, are advancing fast towards an ascendancy. 
I have been blamed for saying, that a prevalence of the doc- 
trines of consolidation would one day call for reformation or rev- 
olution. I answer by asking if a single State of the Union 
would have agreed to the constitution, had it given all powers 
to the General Government ? If the whole opposition to it did 
not proceed from the jealousy and fear of every State, of being 
subjected to the other States in matters merely its own ? And 
if there is any reason to believe the States more disposed now 
than then, to acquiesce in this general surrender of all their 
rights and powers to a consolidated government, one and undi- 
vided ? 

You request me confidentially, to examine the question, wheth- 
er the Supreme Court has advanced beyond its constitutional 
hmits, and trespassed on those of the State authorities ? I do 
not undertake it, my dear Sir, because I am unable. Age and 
the wane of mind consequent on it, have disqualified me from 
investigations so severe, and researches so laborious. And it is 
the less necessary in this case, as having been already done by 


others with a logic and learning to which I could add nothing 
On the decision of the case of Cohens vs. The State of Virginiai 
in the Supreme Court of the United States, in March, 1821, 
Judge Roane, under the signature of Algernon Sidney, wrote for 
the Enquirer a series of papers on the law of that case. I con- 
sidered these papers maturely as they came out, and confess that 
ihey appeared to me to pulverize every word which had been 
delivered by Judge Marshall, of the extra-judicial part of his 
opinion ; and all was extra-judicial, except the decision that the 
act of Congress had not purported to give to the corporation of 
Washington the authority claimed by their lottery law, of con- 
trolling the laws of the States within the States themselves. But 
unable to claim that case, he could not let it go entirely, but 
went on gratuitously to prove, that notwithstanding the eleventh 
amendment of the constitution, a State could be brought as a de- 
fendant, to the bar of his court ; and again, that Congress might 
authorize a corporation of its territory to exercise legislation 
within a State, and paramount to the laws of that State. I cite 
the sum and result only of his doctrines, according to the impres- 
sion made on my mind at the time, and still remaining. If not 
strictly accurate in circumstance, it is so in substance. This doc- 
trine was so completely refuted by Roane, that if he can be an- 
swered, I surrender human reason as a vain and useless faculty, 
given to bewilder, and not to guide us. And I mention this par- 
ticular case as one only of several, because it gave occasion to 
that thorough examination of the constitutional limits between 
the General and State jurisdictions, which you have asked for. 
There were two other writers in the same paper, under the sig- 
natures of Fletcher of Saltoun, and Somers, who, in a few es- 
says, presented some very luminous and striking views of the 
question. And there was a particular paper which recapitulated 
all the cases in which it was thought the federal court had 
usurped on the State jurisdictions. These essays will be found 
in the Enquirers of 1821, from May the 10th to July the 13th. 
It is not in my present power to send them to you, but if Ritchie 
can furnish them, I will procure and forward them. If they 


had been read in the other States, as they were here, I think 
they would have left, there as here, no dissentients from then 
do'-trine. The subject was taken up by our legislature of 
1821— '22, and two draughts of remonstrances were prepared 
and discussed. As well as I remember, there was no difference 
of opinion as to the matter of right ; but there was as to the 
expediency of a remonstrance at that time, the general mind of 
the States being then under extraordinary excitement by the 
Missouri question ; and it was dropped on that consideration. 
But this case is not dead, it only sleepeth. The Indian Chief 
said he did not go to war for every petty injury by itself, but put 
it into his pouch, and when that was full, he then made war. 
Thank Heaven, we have provided a more peaceable and rational 
mode of redress. 

This practice of Judge Marshall, of travelling out of his case 
to prescribe what the law would be in a moot case not before 
the court, is very irregular and very censurable. 1 recollect an- 
other instance, and the more particularly, perhaps, because it in 
some measure bore on myself. Among the midnight appoint- 
tnents of Mr. Adams, were commissions to some federal justices 
of the peace for Alexandria. These were signed and sealed by 
him, but not delivered. I found them on the table of the de- 
partment of State, on my entrance into office, and I forbade their 
delivery. Marbury, named in one of them, applied to the Su- 
preme Court for a mandamus to the Secretary of State, (Mr. 
Madison) to deliver the commission intended for him. The 
Court determined at once, that being an original process, they had 
no cognizance of it ; and therefore the question before them was 
ended. But the Chief Justice went on to lay down what the 
law would be, had they jurisdiction of the case, to-wit : that they 
should command the delivery. The object was clearly to in- 
struct any other court having the jurisdiction, what they should 
do if Marbury should apply to them. Besides the impropriety 
of this gratuitous interference, could anj^thing exceed the perver- 
sion of law ? For if there is any principle of law never yet con- 
tradicted, it is that delivery is one of the essentials to the validity 


of a deed. Although signed and sealed, yet as long as it remains 
in the hands of the party himself, it is in fieri only, it is not a 
deed, and can be made so only by its delivery. In the hands of 
a third person it may be made an escrow. But whatever is in 
the executive ofRces is certainly deemed to be in the hands of 
the President ; and in this case, was actually in my hands, be- 
cause, when I countermanded them, there was as yet no Secre- 
tary of State. Yet this case of Marbury and Madison is con- 
tinually cited by bench and bar, as if it were settled law, with- 
out any animadversion on its being merely an obiter dissertation 
of the Chief Justice. 

It may be impracticable to lay down any general formula of 
words which shall decide at once, and with precision, in every 
case, this limit of jurisdiction. But there are two canons which 
will guide us safely in most of the cases. 1st. The capital and 
leading object of the constitution was to leave with the States 
all authorities which respected their own citizens only, and to 
transfer to the United States those which respected citizens of 
foreign or other States : to make us several as to ourselves, but 
one as to all others. In the latter case, then, constructions should 
lean to the general jurisdiction, if the words will bear it ; and in 
favor of the States in the former, if possible to be so construed. 
And indeed, between citizens and citizens of the same State, and 
under their own laws, I know but a single case in which a juris- 
diction is given to the General Government. That is, where 
anything but gold or silver is made a lawful tender, or the obli- 
gation of contracts is any otherwise impaired. The separate leg- 
islatures had so often abused that power, that the citizens them- 
selves chose to trust it to the general, rather than to their own 
si;ecial authorities. 2d. On every question of construction, carry 
ourselves back to the time when the constitution was adopted, 
recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, aud instead of try- 
ing what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented 
against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. 
Let us try Cohen's case by these canons only, referring tdways, 
however, for full argument, to the essays before cited. 


^. It was between a citizen and his own State, and under a 
law of his State. It was a domestic case, therefore, and not a 
foreign one. 

2. Can it be beheved, that under the jealousies prevailing 
against the General Government, at the adoption of the constitu- 
tion, the States meant to surrender the authority of preserving 
order, of enforcing moral duties and restraining vice, within their 
own territory ? And this is the present case, that of Cohen being 
under the ancient and general law of gaming. Can any good 
be effected by taking from the States the moral rule of their 
citizens, and subordinating it to the general authority, or to one 
of their corporations, which may justify forcing the meaning of 
words, hunting after possible constructions, and hanging infer- 
ence on inference, from heaven to earth, like Jacob's ladder ? 
Sach an intention was impossible, and such a licentiousness of 
construction and inference, if exercised by both governments, as 
may be done with equal right, would equally authorize both to 
claim all power, general and particular, and break up the founda- 
tions of the Union. Laws are made for men of ordinary under- 
standing, and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules 
of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in 
metaphysical subtleties, which may make anything mean every- 
thing or nothing, at pleasure. It should be left to the sophisms 
of advocates, whose trade it is, to prove that a defendant is a 
plaintiff, though dragged into court, torto collo, like Bonaparte's 
volunteers, into the field in chains, or that a power has been 
given, because it ought to have been given, et alia talia. The 
States supposed that by their tenth amendment, they had secured 
themselves against constructive powers. They were not lessoned 
yet by Cohen's case, nor aware of the slipperiness of the eels of 
the law. I ask for no straining of words against the General 
Government, nor yet against the States. I believe the States can 
best govern our home concerns, and ^he General Government om* 
foreign ones. I wish, therefore, to see maintained that whole- 
some distribution of powers established by the constitution for 
the limitation of both ; and never to see all offices transferred to 


Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the peo. 
pie, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market. 

Bat the Chief Justice says, " there must be an ultimate arbiter 
somewhere." True, there must ; but does that prove it is either 
party ? The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Utiion, as- 
sembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress, 
or of two-thirds of the States. Let them decide to which they 
mean to give an authority claimed by two of their organs. And 
it has been the peculiar wisdom and felicity of our constitution, 
to have provided this peaceable appeal, where that of other na- 
tions is at once to force. 

I rejoice in the example you set of seriatim opinions. I have 
heard it often noticed, and always with high approbation. Some 
of your brethren will be encouraged to follow it occasionally, 
and in time, it may be felt by all as a duty, and the sound prac- 
tice of the primitive court be again restored. Why should not 
every judge be asked his opinion, and give it from the bench, if 
only by yea or nay ? Besides ascertaining the fact of his opin- 
ion, which the public have a right to know, in order to judge 
whether it is impeachable or not, it would show whether the 
opinions were unanimous or not, and thus settle more exactly 
the weight of their authority. 

The close of my second sheet warns me that it is time now 
to relieve you from this letter of unmerciful length. Indeed, I 
wonder how I have accomplished it, with two crippled wrists, 
the one scarcely able to move my pen, the other to hold my pa- 
per. But I am hurried sometimes beyond the sense of pain, 
when unbosoming myself to friends who harmonize with me 
in principle. You and I may dilier occasionally in details of 
minor consetpence, as no two minds, more than two faces, are 
the same in every feature. But our general objects arc the same, 
to preserve the republican form and principles of our constitution 
and cleave to the salutary distribution of powers which that has 
estabhshed. These are the two sheet anchors of our Union. If 
driven from either, we shall be in danger of foundering. To my 
prayers for its safety and perpetuity, I add those for the continua- 
tion of your health, happiness, and usefulness to your country. 



MoNTicBLi.o, June 23, 1823. 

Deah Sir, — I have been lately visited by a Mr. Miralla, a na- 
tive of Buenos Ayres, but resident in Cuba for the last seven or 
eight years ; a person of intelligence, of much information, and 
frankly communicative. I believe, indeed, he is known to you. 
I availed myself of the opportunity of learning what was the 
state of public sentiment in Cuba as to their future course. He 
says they would be satisfied to remain as they are ; but all are 
sensible that that cannot be ; that whenever circumstances shall 
render a separation from Spain necessary, a perfect independance 
would be their choice, provided they could see a certainty of 
protection ; but that, without that prospect, they would be divid- 
ed in opinion between an incorporation with Mexico, and with 
the United States. — Columbia being too remote for prompt sup- 
port. The considerations in favor of Mexico are that the Hav- 
ana would be the emporium for all the produce of that immense 
and wealthy country, and of course, the medium of all its com- 
merce ; that having no ports on its eastern coast, Cuba would 
become the depot of its naval stores and strength, and, in effect, 
would, in a great measure, have the sinews of the government in 
its hands. That in favor of the United States is the fact that 
three-fourths of the exportations from Havana come to the Unit- 
ed States, that they are a settled government, the power which can 
most promptly succor them, rising to an eminence promising 
future security ; and of which they would make a member of the 
sovereigntv, while as to England, they would be only a colony, 
subordinated to her interest, and that there is not a man in the 
island who would not resist her to the bitterest extremity. Of 
this last sentiment I had not the least idea at the date of my late 
letters to you. I had supposed an English interest there quite as 
strong as that of the United States, and therefore, that, to avoid 
war, and keep the island open to our own commerce, it would 
be best to join that power in mutually guaranteeing its independ- 
ence. But if there is no danger of its falling into the possession 


of England, I must retract an opinion founded on an error of 
fact. We are surely under no obligation to give her, gratis, an 
interest which she has not ; and the whole inhabitants being 
averse to her, and the climate mortal to strangers, its continued 
military occupation by her would be impracticable. It is better 
then to lie still in readiness to receive that interesting incorpora- 
tion when solicited by herself. For, certainly, her addition to 
our confederacy is exactly what is wanting to round our power 
as a nation to the point of its utmost interest. 

I have thought it my duty to acknowledge my error on this 
occasion, and to repeat a truth before acknowledged, that, retired 
as I am, I know too little of the affairs of the world to form 
opinions of them worthy of any attention ; and I resign myself 
with reason, and perfect confidence to the care and guidance of 
those to whom the helm is committed. With this assurance, ac- 
cept that of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect. 


MoNTiCKLLO, July 16, 1823. 

Dear Sir, — I received in due time your favor of June 16th, 
and with it your Syllabus of lectures on Spanish literature. I 
have considered this with great interest and satisfaction, as it 
gives me a model of course I wish to see pursued in the different 
branches of instruction in our University, i. e. a methodical, 
critical, and profotmd explanation by way of protection of every 
science we propose to teach. I am not fully informed of the 
practices at Harvard, but there is one from which we shall cer- 
tainly vary, although it has been copied, I believe, by nearly 
every college and academy in the United States. That is, the 
holding the students all to one prescribed course of reading, and 
disallowing exclusive application to those branches only which 
are to qualify them for the particular vocations to wJiich they 
are destined. We shall, on the contrary, allow them uncontroled 
choice in the lectm-es they shall choose to attend, and requir* 

C R R E S P O K D E N C E . 301 

elementary qualification only, and sufficient age. Our institu- 
tion will proceed on the principle of doing all the good it can 
without consulting its own pride or ambition ; of letting every 
one come and listen to whatever he thinks may improve the con- 
dition of his mind. The rock which I most dread is the disci- 
pline of the institution, and it is that on which most of our pub- 
lic schools labor. The insubordination of our youth is now the 
greatest obstacle to their education. We may lessen the difficul- 
ty, perhaps, by avoiding too much government, by requiring no 
useless observances, none which shall merely multiply occasions 
for dissatisfaction, disobedience and revolt by referring to the 
more discreet of themselves the minor discipline, the graver to 
the civil magistrates, as in Edinburg. On this head I am anxious 
for information of the practices of other places, having myself 
had little experience of the government of youth. I presume 
there are printed codes of the rules of Harvard, and if so, you 
would oblige me by sending me a copy, and of those of any 
other academy which you think can furnish anything useful. 
You flatter me with a visit "as soon as you learn that the Uni- 
versity is fairly opened." A visit from you at any time will be 
the most welcome possible to all our family, who remember with 
peculiar satisfaction the pleasure they received from your former 
one. But were I allowed to, name the time, it should not be de- 
ferred beyond the autumn of the ensuing year. Our last build- 
ing, and that which will be the principal ornament and keystone, 
giving unity to the whole, will then be nearly finished, and af- 
ford you a gratification compensating the trouble of the journey. 
We shall then, also, be engaged in our code of regulations pre- 
paratory to our opening, which may, perhaps, take place in the 
beginning of 1825. There is no person from whose information 
of the European institutions, and especially their disciphne, I 
should expect so much aid in that difficult work. Come, then, 
dear Sir, at that, or any earlier epoch, and give to our institution 
the benefit of your counsel. I know that you scout, as I do. 
the idea of any rivalship. Our views are Catholic for the im- 
provement of our country by science, and indeed, it is better 


even for your own University to have its yoke nate at this dis- 
tance, rather than to force a nearer one from the increasing ne- 
cessity for it. And how long before we may expect others in 
the southern, western, and middle regions of this vast country? 

I send you by mail a print of the ground-plan of our institu- 
tion ; it may give you some idea of its distribution and conven- 
iences, but not of its architecture, which being chastely classical, 
constitutes one of its distinguishing characters. I am much in- 
debted for your kind attentions to Mr. Harrison ; he is a youth 
of promise. I could not deny myself the gratification of com- 
municating to his father the part of your letter respecting him. 

Our family all join me in assurances of our friendly esteem 
and great respect. 


QoiNcv, August 15, 1823. 

Watchman, what of the night ? Is darkness that may be felt, 
to prevail over the whole world ? or can you perceive any rays 
of a returning dawn ? Is the devil to be the " Lord's anointed" 
over the whole globe ? or do you foresee the fulfilment of the 
prophecies according to Dr. Priestley's interpretation of them ? I 
know not, but I have in some of my familiar, and frivolous let- 
ters to you, told the story four times over ; but if I have, I never 
applied it so well as now. 

Not long after the denouement of the tragedy of Louis XTI, 
when I was Vice-President, my friend the Doctor came to break- 
fast with me alone ; he was very sociable, very learned and elo- 
quent, on the subject of the French revolution. It was opening 
a new era in the world, and presenting a near view of the mil- 
lennium. I listened ; I heard with great attention and per- 
fect sang froid. At last I asked the Doctor. Do you really 
believe the French will establish a free democratical government 
in France ? He answered : I do firmly believe it. Will you 
give me leave to ask you upon what grounds you entertain this 


opinion? Is it from anything you ever read in history? Is 
there any instance of a Roman Catholic monarchy of five and 
twenty millions at once converted into a free and national people ? 
No. I know of no instance like it. Is there anything in your 
knowledge of human nature, derived from books, or experience, 
that any nation, ancient or modern, consisting of such multitudes 
of ignorant people, ever were, or ever can be converted suddenly 
into materials capable of conducting a free government, especial^ 
ly a democratical republic ? No — I know nothing of the kind. 
Well then. Sir, what is the ground of your opinion ? The an- 
swer was, my opinion is founded altogether upon revelation, and 
the prophecies. I take it that the ten horns of the great beast in 
revelations, mean the ten crowned heads of Europe ; and that the 
execution of the King of France, is the falling oif of the first of 
those horns ; and the nine monarchies of Europe will fall one af- 
ter another in the same way. Such was the enthusiasm of that 
great man, that reasoning machine. After all, however, he did 
recollect hirtiself so far as to say : There is, however, a possibili- 
ty of doubt ; for I read yesterday a book put into my hands, by 
a gentleman, a volume of travels written by a French gentleman 
in 1659 ; in which he says he had been travelling a whole year 
in England; into every part of it, and conversed freely with all 
ranks of people ; he found the whole nation earnestly engaged in 
discussing and contriving a form of government for their future 
regulations ; there was but one point in which they all agreed, 
and in that they were unanimous: that monarchy, nobility," 
and prelacy never would exist in England again. The Doctor 
paused ; and said : Yet, in the very next year, the whole nation 
called in the King and run mad with nobility, monarchy, and 
prelacy. I am no King killer ; merely because they are Kings. 
Poor creatures; they know no better ; they believe sincerely and 
conscientiously that God made them to rule the world. I would 
not, therefore, behead them, or send them to St. Helena, to be 
ti'eated as Bonaparte was ; but I would shut them up like the 
man in the iron mask ; feed them well, give them as much finery 
as they pleased, until they could be converted to right reason and 


common sense. I have nothing to communicate from this part 
of the country, except that you must not be surprised if you hear 
something wonderful in Boston before long. With my profound 
respects for your family, and half a century's affection for your- 
self, I am your humble servant. 


MoNTioKLi.o, August 30, 182.S. 

DejVh Sib, — I received the enclosed letters from the President 
with a request, that after perusal I would forward them to you 
for perusal by yourself also, and to be returned then to him. 

You have doubtless seen Timothy Pickerings' fourth of July 
observations on the Declaration of Independence. If his princi- 
ples and prejudices, personal and political, gave us no reason to 
doubt whether he had tridy quoted the information he alleges to 
have received from Mr. Adams, I should then say, that in some 
of the particulars, Mr. Adams' memory has led him into unques- 
tionable error. At the age of eighty-eight, and forty-seven years 
after the transactions of Independence, this is not wonderful. 
Nor should I, at the age of eighty, on the small advantage of 
that difference only, venture to oppose my memory to his, were 
it not supported by written notes, taken by myself at the mo- 
ment and on the spot. He says, " the committee of five, to wit, 
Dr. Franklin, Sherman, Livingston, and ourselves, met, discussed 
the subject, and then appointed him and myself to make the 
draught ; that we, as a sub-committee, met, and after the urgen- 
cies of each on the other, I consented to undertake the task ; that 
the draught being made, we, the sub-committee, met, and conned 
the paper over, and he does not remember that he made or sug- 
gested a single alteration." Now these details are quite incor- 
rect The committee of five met ; no such thing as a sub-com- 
mittee was proposed, but they unanimously pressed on myself 
alone to undertake the draught. I consented ; I drew it ; but be- 
fore I reported it to the committee, I communicated it separately 


to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, requesting their corrections, be- 
cause they were the two members of whose judgments and 
amendments I wished most to have the benefit, before presenting 
it to the committee ; and you have seen the original paper now 
in my hands, with the corrections of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams 
interlined in their own hand writings. Their alterations were 
two or three only, and merely verbal. I then wrote a fair copy, 
reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered, to Con- 
gress. ■ This personal communication and consultation with Mr. 
Adams, he has misremembered into the actings of a sub-commit- 
tee. Pickering's observations, and Mr. Adams' in addition, " thac 
it contained no new ideas, that it is a common-place compilation, 
its sentiments hacknied in Congress for two years before, and its 
essence contained in Otis' pamphlet," may all be true. Of that 
I am not to be the judge. Richard Henry Lee charged it as 
copied from Locke's treatise on government. Otis' pamphlet I 
never saw, and whether I had gathered my ideas from reading 
or.reflection I do not know. I know only that I turned to neither 
book nor pamphlet while writing it. I did not consider it as 
any part of my charge to invent new ideas altogether, and to of- 
fer no sentiment which had ever been expressed before. Had 
Mr. Adams been so restrained. Congress would have lost the 
benefit of his bold and impressive advocations of the rights of 
Revolution. For no man's confident and fervid addresses, more 
than Mr. Adams', encouraged and supported us through the difii- 
culties surromding us, which, like the ceaseless action of gravity 
weighed on us by night and by day. Yet, on the same ground, 
we may ask what of these elevated thoughts was new, or can be 
affirmed never before to have entered the conceptions of man ? 

Whether, also, the sentiments of Independence, and the reasons 
for declaring it, which make so great a portion of the instrument, 
had been hackneyed in Congress for two years before the 4th of 
July, '76, or this dictum also of Mr. Adams be another slip of me- 
mory, let history say. This, however, I will say for Mr. Adams, 
that he supported the Declaration with zeal and ability, fighting 
fearlessly for every word of it. As to myself, I thought it a duty 

VOL. vn. 20 


to be, on that occasion, a passive auditor of the opinions of others 
more impartial judges than I could be, of its merits or demerits 
During the debate I was sitting by Doctor Franklin, and he ob- 
served that I was writhing a little under the acrimonious criti- 
cisms on some of its parts ; and it was on that occasion, that by- 
way of comfort, he told me the story of John Thompson, the 
liatter, and his new sign. 

Timothy thinks the instrument the better for having a fourth 
of it expunged. He would have thought it still better, had the 
other three-fourths gone out also, all but the single sentiment 
(the only one he approves), which recommends friendship to his 
dear England, whenever she is willing to be at peace with us. 
His insinuations are, that although " the high tone of the instru- 
ment was in unison with the warm feelings of the times, this 
sentiment of habitual friendship to England should never be for- 
gotten, and that the duties it enjoins should especially be borne 
in mind on every celebration of this anniversary." In other 
words, that the Declaration, as being a libel on the government 
of England, composed in times of passion, should now be buried 
in utter oblivion, to spare the feelings of our English friends and 
Angloman fellow-citizens. But it is not to wound them that we 
wish to keep it in mind ; but to cherish the principles of the in- 
strument in the bosoms of our own citizens : and it is a heavenly 
comfort to see that these principles are yet so strongly felt, as to 
render a circumstance so trifling as this little lapse of memory 
of Mr. Adams," worthy of being solemnly announced and sup- 
ported at an anniversary assemblage of the nation on its birth- 
day. In opposition, however, to Mr. Pickering, I pray God that 
these principles may be eternal, and close the prayer with my 
affectionate wishes for yourself of long life, health and happiness. 



MoNTiCf;n.o, September 4, 1823. 

Deak Sie, — Your letter of August the 15th was received in 
due time, and with the welcome of everything which comes 
fro fl you. With its opinions on the difficulties of revolutions 
fro/a despotism to freedom, I very much concur. The genera- 
tion which commences a revolution rarely completes it. Habitu- 
ated from their infancy to passive submission of body and mind 
to their kings and priests, they are not qualified when called on 
to think and provide for themselves ; and their inexperience, 
their ignorance and bigotry make them instruments often, in the 
hands of the Bonapartes and Iturbides, to defeat their own rights 
and purposes. This is the present situation of Europe and Span- 
ish America. But it is not desperate. The light which has 
been shed on mankind by the art of printing, has eminently 
changed the condition of the world. As yet, that light has 
dawned on the middling classes only of the men in Europe 
The kings and the rabble, of equal ignorance, have not yet re- 
ceived its rays ; but it continues to spread, and while printing is 
pjeserved, it can no more recede than the sun return on his course. 
A first attempt to recover the right of self-government may fail, 
so may a second, a third, &c. But as a younger and more in- 
structed race comes on, the sentiment becomes more and more 
intuitive, and a fourth, a fifth, or some subsequent one of the 
ever renewed attempts will ultimately succeed. In France, the 
first effort was defeated by Robespierre, the second by Bona- 
parte, the third by Louis XYIII. and his holy allies : another is 
yet to come, and all Europe, Russia excepted, has caught the 
spirit ; and all will attain representative government, more or 
less perfect. This is now well understood to be a necessary 
check on kings, whom they will probably think it more prudent 
to chain and tame, than to exterminate. To attain all this, 
however, rivers of blood must yet flow, and years of desolation 
pass over ; yet the object is worth rivers of blood, and years of 
desolation. For what inheritance so valuable, can man leave to 


his posterity ? The spirit of the Spaniard, and his deadly and 
eternal hatred to a Frenchman, give me much confidence that 
he will never submit, but finally defeat this atrocious violation 
of the laws of God and man, under which he is suffering ; and 
the wisdom and firmness of the Cortes, afford reasonable hope, 
that that nation will settle down in a temperate representative 
government, with an executive properly subordinated to that. 
Portugal, Italy, Prussia, Germany, Greece, will follow suit, 
You and I shall look down from another world on these glo- 
rious achievements to man, which will add to the joys even 
of heaven. 

I observe your toast of Mr. Jay on the 4th of July, wherein 
you say that the omission of his signature to the Declaration of 
Independence was by accident. Our impressions as to this fact 
being different, I shall be glad to have mine corrected, if wrong. 
Jay, you know, had been in constant opposition to our laboring 
majority. Our estimate at the time was, that he, Dickinson and 
Johnson of Maryland, by their ingenuity, perseverance and par- 
tiality to our English connection, had constantly kept us a year 
behind where we ought to have been in our preparations and pro- 
ceedings. From about the date of the Virginia instructions of 
May the 15th, 1776, to declare Independence, Mr. Jay absented 
himself from Congress, and never came there again until Decem- 
ber, 1778. Of course, he had no part in the discussions or de- 
cision of that question. The instructions to their Delegates by 
the Convention of New York, then sitting, to sign the Declara- 
tion, were presented to Congress on the 15th of July only, and 
on that day the journals show the absence of Mr. Jay, by a let- 
ter received from him, as they had done as early as the 29th of 
May by another letter. And I think he had been omitted by 
the convention on a new election of Delegates, when they 
changed their instructions. Of this last fact, however, having 
no evidence but an ancient impression, I shall not affirm it. But 
whether so or not, no agency of accident appears in the case. 
This error of fact, however, whether yours or mine, is of little 


consequence to the public. But truth being as cheap as error, it 
is as well to rectify it for our own satisfaction. 

I have had a fever of about three weeks, during the last and 
preceding month, from which I am entirely recovered except as 
to strength. 


MoNTioELLO, September 8, 1823. 

Deab Sik, — Your favor of July 28th, from Avon, came to 
hand on the 10th of August, and I have delayed answering it 
on the presumption of your continued absence, but the approach 
of the season of frost in that region has probably before this 
time turned you about to the south. I readily conceive that by 
the time of your return to Philadelphia, you will have had trav- 
elling enough for the present, and therefore acquiesce in your 
proposition to give us the next season. Your own convenience 
is a sufficient reason, and an auxiliary one is that we shall then 
have more for you to see and approve. By that time, our ro- 
tunda, (the walls of which will be finished this month) will have 
received its roof, and will show itself externally to some advan- 
tage. Its columns only will be wanting, as they must await 
their capitals from Italy. We have just received from thence, 
and are now putting up, the marble capitals of the buildings we 
have already erected, which completes our whole system, except 
the rotunda and its adjacent gymnasia. All are now ready to 
receive theii- occupants, and should the legislature, at their next 
session, liberate our funds as is hoped, we shall ask but one year 
more to procure our professors, for most of whom we must go to 
Europe. In your substitution of Monticello instead of your an- 
nual visit to Black Rock, I will engage you equal health, and a 
more genial and pleasant climate ; but instead of the flitting, 
flirting, and gay assemblage of that place, you must be contented 
with the plain and sober family and neighborly society, with the 
assurance that you shall hear no wrangling about the next presi- 
dent, although the excitement on that subject will then be at its 


acme. Numerous have been the attempts to entangle me in thai 
imbroglio. But at the age of eighty, I seek quiet and abjure 
contention. I read but a single newspaper, Ritchie's Enquirer, 
the best that is published or ever has been published in America. 
You should read it also, to keep yourself au fait of your own 
State, for we still claim you as belonging to us. A city life offers 
you indeed more means of dissipating time, but more frequent, 
also, and more painful objects of vice and wretchedness. New- 
York, for example, like London, seems to be a Cloacina of all 
the depravities of human nature. Philadelphia doubtless has its 
share. Here, on the contrary, crime is scarcely heard of, breaches 
of order rare, and our societies, if not refined, are rational, moral, 
and affectionate at least. Our only blot is becoming less offens- 
ive by the great improvement in the condition and civilization 
of that race, who can now more advantageously compare their 
situation with that of the laborers of Europe. Still it is a hid- 
eous blot, as well from the heteromorph peculiarities of the race, 
as that, with them, physical compulsion to action must be sub- 
stituted for the moral necessity which constrains the free laborers 
to work equally hard. We feel and deplore it morally and polit- 
ically, and we look without entire despair to some redeeming 
means not yet specifically foreseen. I am happy in believing 
that the conviction of the necessity of removing this evil gains 
ground with time. Their emigration to the westward lightens 
the difficulty by dividing it, and renders it more practicable on 
the whole. And the neighborhood of a government of their 
color promises a more accessible asylum than that from whence 
they came. Ever and affectionately yours. 


MoNTiCELLO, September 24, 1823. 

SiH, — Your letter of August 28th, with the pamphlet ac- 
sompanying it, was not received until the 18th instant. 

That our Creator made the earth for the use of the living and 


not of the dead ; that those who exist not can have no use nor 
right in it, no authority or power over it ; that one generation 
of men cannot foreclose or burthen its use to another, which 
comes to it in its own right and by the same divine beneficence ; 
that a preceding generation cannot bind a succeeding one by its 
laws or contracts ; these deriving their obligation from the will 
of the existing majority, and that majority being removed by 
death, another comes in its place with a will equally free to make 
its own laws and contracts ; these are axioms so self-evident that 
no explanation can make them plainer ; for he is not to be reas- 
oned with who says that non-existence can control existence, or 
that nothing can move something. They are axioms also preg- 
nant with salutary consequences. The laws of civil society in- 
deed for the encouragement of industry, give the property of the 
parent to his family on his death, and in most civilized countries 
permit him even to give it, by testament, to whom he pleases. 
And it is also found more convenient to suffer the laws of our 
predecessors to stand on our implied assent, as if positively re- 
enacted, until the existing majority positively repeals them. But 
this does not lessen the right of that majority to repeal whenever 
a change of ch'cumstances or of will calls for it. Habit alone 
confounds what is civil practice with natural right. 

On the merits of the pamphlet I say nothing of course ; having 
found it necessary to decline giving opinions on books even 
when desired. For the functions of a reviewer, I have neither 
time, talent, nor inclination, and I trust that on reflection your 
indulgence will not think unreasonable my unwillingness to em- 
bark in an office of so little enticement. With my thanks for the 
pamphlet, be pleased to accept the assurance of my great respect. 


JIosTiOELLO, October 4, 1 823. 

Sm, — You must, I think, have somewhat misunderstood what 
[ may have said to you as to manuscripts in my possession re- 


latmg to the antiquities, and particularly the Indian antiquities 
of our country. The only manuscripts I now possess are some 
folio volumes, two of these are the proceedings of the Virginia 
Company in England ; the remaining four are of the Records of 
the Council of Virginia from 1622 to 1700. The account of 
the two first volumes you will see in the preface to Stith's His- 
tory of Virginia. They contain the records of the Virginia com- 
pany, copied from the originals, under the eye, if I recollect 
rightly, of the Earl of Southampton, a member of the company, 
bought at the sale of his library by Doctor Byrd, of Westover, 
and sold with that library to Isaac Zane. These volumes hap- 
pened at the time of the sale, to have been borrowed by Colonel 
R. Bland, whose library I bought, and with this, they were sent 
to me. I gave notice of it to Mr. Zane, but he never reclaimed 
them. I shall deposit them in the library of the university, 
where they will be most likely to be preserved with care. The 
other four volumes, I am confident, are the original office records 
3f the council. My conjectures are that when Sr. John Ran- 
dolph was about to begin the History of Virginia which he meant 
to write, he borrowed these volumes from the council office, to 
collect from them materials for his work. He died before he 
had made any progress in that work, and they remained in his 
library, probably unobserved, during the whole life of the late 
Peyton Randolph, his son ; from his executors I purchased his 
library in a lump, and these volumes were sent to me as a part 
of it. I found the leaves so rotten as often to crumble into dust 
on being handled ; I bound them, therefore, together, that they 
might not be unnecessarily opened, and have thus preserved them 
forty-seven years. If my conjectures are right, they must have 
been out of the public office about eighty years. I shall deposit 
them also with the others in the same library of the university, 
where they will be safer from injury than in a public office. I 
have promised, however, to trust them to Mr. Hennig, if he will 
' copy and publish them when he shall h?ve finished his collec- 
tion of the laws. For this he is peculiarly qualified, as well by 
his diligence as by his familiarity with our ancient manuscript 


characters, a familiarity very necessary for decyphering these 

I agree with you that it is the duty of every good citizen to 
use all the opportunities which occur to him, for preserving doc- 
uments relating to the history of our country. That I have not 
been remiss in this while I had youth, health, and opportunity, 
is proved otherwise, as well as by the materials I furnished to- 
wards Mr. Hening's invaluable collection of the laws of our coun- 
try ; but there is a time, and that time is come with me, when 
these duties are no more, when age and the wane of mind and 
memory, and the feebleness of the powers of life pass them over 
as a legacy to younger hands. I write now slowly, laboriously, 
painfully. I am obliged, therefore, to decline all correspondence 
which some moral duty does not urgently call on me to answer. 
•I always trust that those who write them will read their answer 
in my age and silence, and see in these a manifestation that I am 
done with' writing letters. I am sorry, therefore, that I am not 
able to give any aid to the work you contemplate, other than my 
best wishes for its success, and to these I add the assurance of 
of my great respect. 


MoNTicELLo, October 12, 1823. 

Dear Sir, — I do not write with the ease which your letter of 
September the 18th supposes. Crippled wrists and fingers make 
writing slow and laborious. But while writing to you, I lose 
the sense of these things in the recollection of ancient times, 
when youth and health made happiness out of everything. I 
forget for a while the hoary winter of age, when we can think 
of nothing but how to keep ourselves warm, and how to get rid 
of our heavy hours until the friendly hand of death shall rid us 
of all at once. Against this tedium vitm, however, I am fortu- 
nately mounted on a hobby, which, indeed, I should have better 
managed some thirty or forty years ago j but whose easy amble 


is still sufficient to give exercise and amusement to an octogeuary 
rider. This is the establishment of a University, on a scale more 
comprehensive, and in a country more healthy and central than 
our old William and Mary, which these obstacles have long kept 
in a state of languor and inefficiency. But the tardiness with 
with such works proceed, may render it doubtful whether I shall 
live to see it go into action. 

Putting aside these things, however, for the present, I write 
this letter as due to a friendship coeval with our government, 
and now attempted to be poisoned, when too late in life to be 
replaced by new affections. I had for sometime observed in the 
public papers, dark hints and mysterious inuendoes of a coiTes- 
pondence of yours with a friend, to whom you had opened your 
bosom without reserve, and which was to be made public by 
that friend or his representative. And now it is said to be ac- 
tually published. It has not yet reached us, but extracts have 
been given, and such as seemed most likely to draw a curtain of 
separation between you and myself. Were there no other motive 
than that of indignation against the author of this outrage on 
private confidence, whose shaft seems to have been aimed at 
yourself more particularly, this would make it the duty of every 
honorable mind to disappoint that aim, by opposing to its im- 
pression a seven-fold shield of apathy and insensibility. With 
me, however, no such armor is needed. Tiie circumstances of 
the times in which we have happened to live, and the partiality 
of our friends at a particular period, placed us in a state of ap- 
parent opposition, which some might suppose to be personal > 
also ; and there might not be wanting those who wished to make 
it so, by filling our ears with malignant falsehoods, by dressing 
up hideous phantoms of their own creation, presenting them to 
you under my name, to me under yours, and endeavoring to in- 
stil into our minds things concerning each other the most desti- 
tute of truth. And if there had been, at any time, a moment 
Tvhen we were off olir guard, and in a temper to let the whispers 
of these people make us forget what we had known of each 
other for so many years, and years of so much trial, yet all men 


who have attended to the workings of the human mind, who 
have seen the false colors under which passion sometimes dresses 
the actions and motives of others, have seen also those passions 
subsiding with time and reflection, dissipating like mists before 
the rising sun, and restoring to us the sight of all things in their 
true shape and colors. It would be strange indeed, if, at our 
years, we were to go baqk an age to hunt up imaginary or for- 
gotten facts, to disturb the repose of affections so sweetening to 
the evening of our lives. Be assured, my dear Sir, that I am 
incapable of receiving the slightest impression from the efibrt 
now made to plant thorns on the pillow of age, worth and wis- 
dom, and to sow tares between friends who have been such for 
near half a century. Beseeching you then, not to suffer your 
mind to be disquieted by this wicked attempt to poison its peace, 
and praying you to throw it by among the things which have 
never happened, I add sincere assurances of my unabated and 
constant attachment, friendship and respect. 


JIi.xTiCKLLO, October 24, 1823. 

Deak Sir, — The question presented by the letters you have 
sent me, is the most momentous which has ever been ofi'ered to 
my contemplation since that of Independence. That made us a 
nation, this sets our compass and points the course which we are 
to steer through the ocean of time opening on us. And never 
could we embark on it under circumstances more auspicious. 
Our first and fundamental maxim should be, never to entangle 
ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our second, never to sulfer 
Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs. America, North 
and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Eui-ope, 
and peculiarly her own. She should therefore have a system of 
her own, separate and apart from that of Europe. Wliile the last 
is laboring to become the domicil of despotism, our endeavor 
should surely be, to make our hemisphere that of freedom. One 


nation, most of all, could disturb us in this pursuit ; she now 
offers to lead, aid, and accompany us in it. By acceding to her 
proposition, we detach her from the bands, bring her mighty 
weight into the scale of free government, and emancipate a coe- 
tinent at one stroke, which might otherwise linger long in doubt 
and difficulty. Great Britain is the nation which can do us the 
most harm of any one, or all on earth ; and with her on our side 
we need not fear the whole world. With her then, we should 
most sedulously cherish a cordial friendship ; and nothing would 
tend more to knit our affections than to be fighting once more, 
side by side, in the same cause. Not that I would purchase even 
her amity at the price of taking part in her wars. But the war 
in which the present proposition might engage us, should that 
be its consequence, is not her war, but ours. Its object is to in- 
troduce and establish the American system, of keeping out of 
our land all foreign powers, of never permitting those of Europe 
to intermeddle with the affairs of our nations. It is to maintain 
our own principle, not to depart from it. And if, to facilitate 
this, we can effect a division in the body of the European powers, 
and draw over to our side its most powerful member, surely we 
should do it. But I am clearly of Mr. Canning's opinion, that 
it will prevent instead of provoking war. With Great Britain 
withdrawn from their scale and shifted into that of our two con- 
tinents, all Europe combined would not undertake such a war. 
For how would they propose to get at either enemy without su- 
perior fleets ? Nor is the occasion to be slighted which this 
proposition offers, of declaring our protest against the atrocious 
violations of the rights of nations, by the interference of any one 
in the internal affairs of another, so flagitiously begun by Bona- 
parte, and now continued by the equally lawless Alliance, calling 
itself Holy. 

But we have first to ask ourselves a question. Do we wish to 
acquire to our own confederacy any one or more of the Spanish 
provinces ? I candidly confess, that I have ever looked on Cuba 
as the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our 
system of States. The control which, with Florida Point, this 


island would give us over the Gulf of Mexico, and the countries 
and isthmus bordering on it, as well as all those whose waters 
flow into it, would fill up the measure of our political well-being. 
Yet, as I am sensible that this can never be obtained, even with 
her own consent, but by war ; and its independence, which is our 
second interest, (and especially its independence of England,) can 
be secured without it, I have no hesitation in abandoning my first 
wish to future chances, and accepting its independence, with 
peace and the friendship of England, rather than its association, 
at the expense of war and her enmity. 

I could honestly, therefore, join in the declaration proposed, 
that we aim not at the acquisition of any of those possessions, 
that we will not stand in the way of any amicable arrangement 
between them and the mother country ; but that we will oppose, 
with all our means, the forcible interposition of any other power, 
as auxiliary, stipendiary, or under any other form or pretext, and 
most especially, their transfer to any power by conquest, cession, 
or acquisition in any other way. I should think it, therefore, 
advisable, that the Executive should encourage the British gov- 
ernment to a continuance in the dispositions expressed in these 
letters, by an assurance of his concurrence with them as far as his 
authority goes ; and that as it may lead to war, the declaration of 
which requires an act of Congress, the case shall be laid before 
them for consideration at their first meeting, and under the rea- 
sonable aspect in which it is seen by himself. 

I have been so long weaned from political subjects, and have 
so long ceased to take any interest in them, that I am sensible I 
am not qualified to offer opinions on them worthy of any atten- 
tion. But the question now proposed involves consequences so 
lasting, and efiects so decisive of our future destinies, as to re- 
kindle all the interest I have heretofore felt on such occasions, 
and to induce me to the hazard of opinions, which will prove 
only my wish to contribute still my mite towards anything which 
may be useful to our country. And praying you to accept it at 
only what it is worth, I add the assurance of my constant and 
affectionate friendship and respect. 



MoNTicELLO, October 31, 1823. 

Dear Sir, — ^Your favor of July 10th is lately received. I rec* 
ollect with pleasure the short opportunity of acquaintance with 
you afforded me in Paris, by the kindness of Mr. Paradise, and 
the fine editions <.if the classical writers of Greece which have 
been announced by you from time to time, have never permitted 
me to lose the recollection. Until those of Aristotle's Ethics, and 
the Strategicos of Onesander, with which you have now favored 
me, and for which I pray you to accept my thanks, I had seen 
only your Lives of Plutarch. These I had read, and profited 
much by your valuable Scholia, and the aid of a few words from 
a modern Greek dictionary would, I believe, have enabled me to 
read your patriotic addresses to your countrymen. 

You have certainly begun at the right end towards preparing 
them for the great object they are now contending for, by im- 
proving their minds and qualifying them for self-government. 
For this they will owe you lasting honors. Nothing is more 
likely to forward this object than a study of the fine models of 
science left by their ancestors, to whom we also are all indebted 
for the lights which originally led ourselves out of Gothic dark- 

No people sympathize more feelingly than ours with the suffer- 
ings of your countrymen, none offer more sincere and ardent 
prayers to heaven for their success. And nothing indeed but the 
fundamental principle of our government, never to entangle us 
with the broils of Europe, could restrain our generous youth from 
taking some part in this holy cause. Possessing ourselves the 
combined blessing of liberty and order, we wish the same to 
other countries, and to none more than yours, which, the first of 
civilized nations, presented examples of what man should be. 
Not, indeed, that the forms of government adapted to their age 
and country are practicable or to be imitated in our day, although 
prejudices in their favor would be natural enough to your people. 
The circumstances of the world are too much changed for that. 


The government of Athens, for example, was that of the people 
of one city making laws for the whole country subjected to 
them. That of Lacedaemon was the rule of military monks 
over the laboring class of the people, reduced to abject slavery. 
These are not the doctrines of the present age. The equal rights 
of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowl- 
edged to be the only legitimate objects of government. Modern 
times have the signal advantage, too, of having discovered the 
only device by which these rights can be secured, to-wit : gov- 
ernment by the people, acting not in person, but by representa- 
tives chosen by themselves, that is to say, by every man of ripe 
years and sane mind, who either contributes by his purse or per- 
son to the support of his country. The small and imperfect mix- 
ture of representative government in England, impeded as it is by 
other branches, aristocratical and hereditary, shows yet the power 
of the representative principle towards improving the condition 
of man. With us, all the branches of the government are elective 
by' the people themselves, except the Judiciary, of whose science 
and qualifications they are not competent judges. Yet, even in 
that department, we call in a jury of the people to decide all con- 
troverted matters of fact, because to that investigation they are 
entirely competent, leaving thus as little as possible, merely the 
law of the case, to the decision of the judges. And true it is 
that the people, especially when moderately instructed, are the 
only safe, because the only honest, depositories of the public 
rights, and should therefore be introduced into the administra- 
tion of them in every function to which they are sufiicient ; they 
will err sometimes and accidentally, but never designedly, and 
with a systematic and persevering purpose of overthrowing the 
free principles of the government. Hereditary bodies, on the 
contrary, always existing, always on the watch for their own 
aggrandizement, profit of every opportunity of advancing the 
privileges of their order, and encroaching on the rights of the 

The public papers tell us that your nation has established a 
government of some kind without informing us what it is. This 


is certainly necessary for the direction of the war, but I presume 
it is intended to be temporary only, as a permanent constitution 
must be the work of quiet, leisure, much inquiry, and great de- 
liberation. The extent of our country was so great, and its 
former division into distinct States so established, that ive thought 
it better to confederate as to foreign affairs only. Every State 
retained its self-government in domestic matters, as better quali- 
fied to direct them to the good and satisfaction of their citizens, 
than a general government -so distant from its remoter citizens, 
and so little familiar with the local peculiarities of the different 
parts. But I presume that the extent of country with you, which 
may liberate itself from the Turks, is not too large to be asso- 
ciated under a single government, and that the particular consti- 
tutions of our several States, therefore, and not that of our federal 
government, will furnish the basis best adapted to your situation. 
There are now twenty-four of these distinct States, none smaller 
perhaps than your Morea, several larger than all Greece. Each 
of these has a constitution framed by itself and for itself, but mil- 
itating in nothing with the powers of the general government in 
its appropriate department of war and foreign affairs. These 
constitutions being in print and in every hand, I shall only make 
brief observations on them, and on those provisions particularly 
which have not fulfilled expectations, or which, being varied in 
different States, leave a choice to be made of that which is best. 
You will find much good in all of them, and no one which 
would be approved in all its parts. Such indeed are the differ- 
ent circumstances, prejudices, and habits of different nations, that 
the constitution of no one would be reconcilable to any other in 
every point. A judicious selection of the parts of each suitable 
to any other, is all which prudence should attempt ; thi-s«will ap- 
pear from a review of some parts of our constitutions. 

Our executives are elected by the people for terms of one, two, 
three, or four years, under the names of governors or presidents, 
and are reeligible a second time, or after a certain term, if ap- 
proved by the people. May your Ethnarch be elective also ? or 
does your position among the warrnig powers of Europe need an 


office more permanent, and a leader more stable ? Sureljr yon 
will make him single. For if experience has ever taught a truth, 
it is that a plurality in the supreme executive will forever split 
into discordant factions, distract the nation, annihilate its ener- 
gies, and force the nation to rally under a single head, generally 
an usurper. We have, I think, fallen on the happiest of all 
modes of constituting the executive, that of easing and aiding 
our President, by permitting him to choose Secretaries of State, 
of finance, of war, and of the navy, with whom he may advise, 
either separately or all together, and remedy their divisions by 
adopting or controling their opinions at his discretion ; this saves 
the nation from the evils of a divided will, and secures to it a 
steady march in the systematic course which the president may 
have adopted for that of his administration. 

Our legislatures are composed of two houses, the senate and 
representatives, elected in different modes, and for different pe- 
riods, and in some States, with a qualified veto in the executive 
chief. But to avoid all temptation to superior pretensions of the 
one over the other house, and the possibility of either erecting 
itself into a privileged order, might it not be better to choose at 
the same time and in the same mode, a body sufficiently numer- 
ous to be divided by lot into two separate houses, acting as inde- 
pendently as the two houses in England, or in our governments, 
and to shuffle their names together and re-distribute them by lot, 
once a week for a fortnight ? This would equally give the 
benefit of time and separate deliberation, guard against an abso- 
lute passage by acclamation, derange cabals, intrigues, and the 
count of noses, disarm the ascendency which a popular dem- 
agogue might at anytime obtain over either house, and render 
impossil)le all disputes between the two houses, which often foim 
such obstacles to business. 

Our different States have differently modified their several ju- 
diciaries as to the tenure of office. Some appoint their judges 
for a given term of time ; some continue them during good be- 
havior, and that to be determined on by the concurring vote of 
two-thirds of each legislative house. In England they are re- 

VOL. VII. 21 


movable by a majority only of each house. The last is a prac- 
ticable remedy ; the second is not. The combination of the 
friends and associates of the accused, the action of personal and 
party passions, and the sympathies of the human heart, will for- 
ever find means of influencing one-third of either the one or ihe 
other house, will thus secure their impunity, and establish them 
in fact for life. The first remedy is the best, that of appointing 
for a term of years only, with a capacity of re-appointment if 
their conduct has been approved. At the establishment of our 
constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most 
helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, 
however, soon showed in what way they were to become the 
most dangerous ; that the insufiiciency of the means provided for 
their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office ; 
that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, 
pass silent and unheeded by the public at large ; that these de- 
cisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little 
and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its 
change by construction, before any one has perceived that that 
invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in con- 
suming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted 
for life, if secured against all liability to account. 

The constitutions of some of our States have made it a duty 
■ of their government to provide with due care for the public edu- 
cation. This we divide into three grades. 1. Primary schools, 
in which are taught reading, writing, and common arithmetic, to 
every infant of the State, male and female. 2. Intermediate 
schools, in which an education is given proper for artificers and 
the middle vocations of life ; in grammar, for example, general 
history, logarithms, arithmetic, plain trigonometry, mensuration, 
the use of the globes, navigation, the mechanical principles, the 
elements of natural philosophy, and, as a preparation for the Uni- 
versity, the Greek and Latin languages. 3. An University, in 
which these and all other useful sciences shall be taught in their 
highest degree ; the expenses of these institutions are defrayed 
partly by the public, and partly by the individuals profiting of them 


But, whatever be the constitution, great care must be taken to 
provide a mode of amendment, Avhen experience or change of 
circumstances shall have manifested that any part of it is una- 
adapted to the good of the nation. In some of our States it re- 
quii'es a new authority from the whole people, acting by their 
representatives, chosen for this express purpose, and assembled 
in convention. This is found too difficult for remedying the im- 
perfections which experience develops from time to time in an 
organization of the first impression. A greater facility of amend- 
ment is certainly requisite to maintain it in a course of action ac- 
commodated to the times and changes through which we are 
ever passing. In England the constitution may be altered by a 
single act of the legislature, which amounts to the having no 
constitution at all. In some of our States, an act passed by two 
different legislatures, chosen by the people, at different and suc- 
cessive elections, is sufficient to make a change in the constitu- 
tion. As this mode may be rendered more or less easy, by re- 
quiring the approbation of fewer or more successive legislatures, 
according to the degree of difficulty thought sufficient, and yet 
safe, it is evidently the best principle which can be adopted for 
constitutional amendments. 

I have stated that the constitutions of our several States vary 
more or less in some particulars. But there are certain principles 
in which all agree, and which all cherish as vitally essential to 
the protection of the life, liberty, property, and safety of the 

1. Freedom of religion, restricted only from acts of trespass on 
that of others. 

2. Freedom of person, s.icuring every one from imprisonment, 
or other bodily restraint, but by the laws of the land. This is 
effected by the well-known law of habeas corpus. 

3. Trial by jury, the best of all safe-guards for the person, the 
property, and the fame of every individual. 

4. The exclusive right of legislation and taxation in the repre- 
sentatives of the people. 

5. Freedom of the press, subject only to liability for personal 


injuries. This formidable censor of the public functionaries, by 
arraigning them at the tribunal of public opinion, produces reform 
peaceably, which must otherwise be done by revolution. It is 
also the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and 
improving him as a rational, moral, and social being. , 

I have thus, dear Sir, according to your request, given you 
some thoughts on the subject of national government. They are 
the result of the observations and reflections of an octogenary, 
who has passed fifty years of trial and trouble in the various 
grades of his country's service. They are yet but outlines which 
you will better fill up, and accommodate to the habits and cir- 
cumstances of your countrymen. Should they furnish a single 
idea which may be useful to them, I shall fancy it a tribute renr 
dered to the manes of your Homer, your Demosthenes, and the 
splendid constellation of sages and heroes, whose blood is still 
flowing in your viens, and whose merits are still resting, as a 
heavy debt, on the shoulders of the living, and the future races 
of men. While we off"er to heaven the warmest supplications 
for the restoration of your countrymen to the freedom and science 
of their ancestors, permit me to assure yourself of the cordial es- 
teem and high respect which I bear and cherish towards your- 
self personally. 


MoNTicisLLO, November 4, 1823. 

Mt Dear Friend, — Two dislocated wrists and crippled fingers 
have rendered writing so slow and kborious, as to oblige me to 
withdraw from nearly all correspondence ; not however, from 
yours, while I can make a stroke with a pen. We have gone 
through too many trying scenes together, to forget the sympa- 
thies and afiections they nourished. 

Your- trials have indeed been long and severe. When they 
will end, is yet unknown, but where they will end, cannot be 
doubted. Alliances, Holy or Hellish, may be formed, and retard 


the epoch of deliverance, may swell the rivers of blood which 
are yet to flow, but their own will close the scene, and leave to 
mankind the right of self-government. I trust that Spain will 
prove, that a nation cannot be conquered which determines not 
to be so, and that her success will be the turning of the tide of 
liberty, no more to be arrested by human efforts. Whether the 
state of society in Europe can bear a republican government, I 
doubted, you know, when with you, and I do now. A heredi- 
tary chief, strictly limited, the right of war vested in the legisla- 
tive body, a rigid economy of the public contributions, and abso- 
lute interdiction of all useless expenses, will go far towards keep- 
ing the government honest and unoppressive. But the only se- 
curity of all, is in a free press. The force of public opinion can- 
not be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The 
agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to 
keep the waters pure. 

We are all, for example, in agitation even in our peaceful 
country. For in peace as well as in war, the mind must be kept 
in motion. Who is to be the next President, is the topic here 
of every conversation. My opinion on that subject is what I ex- 
pressed to you in my last letter. The question will be ultimate- 
ly reduced to the northernmost and southernmost candidate. 
The former will get every federal vote in the Union, and many 
republicans ; the latter, all of those denominated of the old school ; 
for you are not to believe that these two parties are amalgamat- 
ed, that the lion and the lamb are lying down together. The 
Hartford Convention, the victory of Orleans, the peace of Ghent, 
prostrated the name of federalism. Its votaries abandoned it 
through shame and mortification ; and now call themselves re- 
republicans. But the name alone is changed, the principles are 
the same. For in truth, the parties of Whig and Tory, are those 
of nature. They exist in all countries, whether called by these 
namds, or by tliose of Aristocrats and Democrats, Cote Droite and 
Cote Gauche, Ultras and Radicals, Serviles, and Liberals. The 
sickly, weakly, timid man, fears the people, and is a tory by na- 
ture. The healthy, strong and bold, cherishes them, and is 


formed a whig by nature. On the ecKpse of federalism with us, 
although not its extinction, its leaders got up the Missouri ques- 
tion, under the false front of lessening the measure of slavery, 
but with the real view of producing a geographical division of 
parties, which might insure them the next President. The peo- 
jile of the north went blindfold into the snare, followed their 
leaders for awhile with a zeal truly moral and laudable, until 
they became sensible that they were injuring instead of aiding 
the real interests of the slaves, that they had been used merely 
as tools for electioneering purposes ; and that tric'k of hypocrisy 
then fell as quickly as it had been got up. To that is now suc- 
ceeding a distinction, which, like that of republican and federal, 
or whig and tory, being equally intermixed through every State, 
threatens none of those geographical schisms which go immedi- 
ately to a separation. The line of division now, is the preserva- 
tion of State rights as reserved in the constitution, or by strained 
constructions of that instrument, to merge all into a consolidated 
government. The tories are for strengthening the executive and 
general Government ; the whigs cherish the representative branch, 
and the rights reserved by the States, as the bulwark against 
consolidation, which must immediately generate monarchy. And 
although this division excites, as yet, no warmth, yet it exists, is 
well understood, and will be a principle of voting at the ensuing 
election, with the reflecting men of both parties. 

I thank you much for the two books you were so kind as to 
send me by Mr. Gallatin. Miss Wright had before favored me 
with the first edition of her American work ; but her " Few days 
in Athens," was entirely new, and has been a treat to me of the 
highest order. The matter and manner of the dialogue is strict- 
ly ancient ; and the principles of the sects are beautifully and 
candidly explained and contrasted ; and the scenery and portrait- 
ure of the interlocutors are of higher finish than anything in that 
line left us by the ancients ; and like Ossian, if not ancient, it is 
equal to the best morsels of antiquity. I augur, from this in- 
stancej that Herculaneum is likely to furnish better specimens 


of modern than of ancient genius ; and may we not hope more 
from the same pen ? 

After much sickness, and the accident of a broken and disa- 
bled arm, I am again in tolerable health, but extremely debiUtat- 
ed, so as to be scarcely able to walk into my garden. The hebe- 
tude of age, too, and extinguishment of interest in the things 
around me, are weaning me from them, and dispose me with 
cheerfulness to resign them to the existing generation, satisfied 
that the daily advance of science will enable them to administer 
the commonwealth with increased wisdom. You have still many 
valuable years to give to your country, and with my prayers that 
they may be years of health and happiness, and especially that 
they may see the establishment of the principles of government 
which you have cherished through life, accept the assurance of 
my affectionate and constant friendship and respect. 


MoNTiCELLO, January 29, 1824. 

Sir, — I have duly received your favor of the 14th, with a copy 
of your mathematical principles of natural philosophy, which I 
have looked into with all the attention which the rust of age and 
long continued avocations of a very different character permit me 
to exercise. I think them entirely worthy of approbation, both 
as to matter and method, and for their brevity as a text book ; 
and I remark particularly the clearness and precision with which 
the propositions are enounced, and, in the demonstrations, the 
easy form in which ideas are presented to the mind, so as to be 
almost intuitive and self-evident. Of Cavallo's book, which you 
say you are enjoined to teach, I have no knowledge, having 
never seen it ; but its character is, I think, that of mere mediocri- 
ty ; and, from my personal acquaintance with the man, I should 
expect no more. He was heavy, capable enough of understand- 
ing what he read, and with memory to retain it, but without the' 
talent of digestion or improvement. But, indeed, the EnghsK 


generally have been very stationary in latter times, and the 
French, on the contrary, so active and successful, particularly in 
preparing elementary books, in the mathematical and natural 
sciences, that those who wish for instruction, without caring from 
what nation they get it, resort universally to the latter language. 
Besides the earlier and invaluable works of Euler and Bezont, 
we have latterly that of Lacroix in mathematics, of Legendre in 
geometry, Lavoisier in chemistry, the elementary works of Haiiy 
in physics, Biot in experimental physics and physical astronomy, 
Dumeril in natural history, to say nothing of many detached essays 
of Monge and others, and the transcendent labors of Laplace, and 
I am informed, by a highly instructed person recently from Cam- 
bridge, that the mathmeticians of that institution, sensible of be- 
ing in the rear of those of the continent, and ascribing the cause 
much to their too long-continued preference of the geometrical 
over the analyitcal methods, which the French have so much cul- 
tivated and improved, have now adopted the latter; and that 
they have also given up the fluxionary, for the differential calcu- 
lus. To confine a school, therefore, to the obsolete work of 
Cavallo, is to shut out all advances in the physical sciences, 
which have been so great in latter times. I am glad, however, 
to learn from your work, and to expect from those it promised in 
succession, which will doubtless be of equal grade, that so good 
a course of instruction is pursued in William and Mary. It is 
very long since I have had any infermation of the state of edu- 
cation in that seminary, to which, as my alma mater, my at- 
tachment has been ever sincere, although not exclusive. When 
that college was located at the middle plantation in 1693, Charles 
city was a frontier county, and there were no inhabitants above 
the falls of the rivers, sixty miles only higher up. It was, there- 
fore, a position, nearly central to the population, as it then was; 
but when the frontier became extended to the Sandy river, three 
hundred miles west of Williamsburg, the public convenience 
called, first for a removal of the seat of government, and latterly, 
not for a removal of the college, but, for the establishment of a 
new one, in a more central and healthy situation ; not disturbing 


tlie old one in its possessions or functions, but leaving them un- 
impaired for the benefit of those to whom it is convenient. And 
indeed, I do not foresee that the number of its students is likely 
to be much affected ; because I presume that, at present, its dis- 
tance and autumnal climate prevent its receiving many students 
from above the tide-waters, and especially from above the moun- 
tains. This is, therefore, one of the cases where the lawyers say 
there is damnum absque injuria ; and they instance, as in point, 
the settlement of a new schoolmaster in the neighborhood of an 
old one. At any rate it is one of those cases wherein the public 
interest rightfully prevails, and the justice of which will be yield- 
ed to by none, I am sure, with more dutiful and candid acquies- 
cence than the enlightened friends of our ancient and venerable 
institution. The only rivalship, I hope, between the old and the 
new, will be in doing the most good possible in their respective 
sections of country. 

As the diagrams of your book have not been engraved, I re- 
turn you the MS. of them, which must be of value to yourself. 
They furnish favorable specimens of the graphical talent of your 
former pupil. Permit me to add, that I shall always be ready 
and happy to receive with particular wecome the visit of which 
you flatter me with the hope, and to avail myself of the occasion 
of assuring you personally of my great respect and esteem. 


MoNTicKLio, February 3, 1824. 

Deak Sik, — I am favored with your two letters of January the 
26th and 29th, and I am glad that yourself and the friends of 
the University are so well satisfied, that the provisos amendatory 
of the University Act are mere nullities. I had not been able to 
put out of my head the Algebraical equation, which was among 
the first of my college lessons, that a — a=0. Yet I cheerfully 
arrange myself to your opinions. I did not suppose, nor do I 
now suppose it possible, that both houses of the legislature should 


ever consent, for an additional fifteen thousand dollars of revenue, 
to set all the Professors and students of the University adrift ; 
and if foreigners will have the same confidence which we have 
in our legislature, no harm will have been done by the provisos. 

You recollect that we had agreed that the Visitors who are of 
the legislature should fix on a certain day of meeting, after the 
rising of the Assembly, to put into immediate motion the meas- 
ures which this act was expected to call for. You will of course 
remind the Governor that a re-appointment of Visitors is to be 
made on the day following Sunday, the 29th of this month ; and 
as he is to appoint the day of their first meeting, it would be well 
to recommend to him that which our brethren there shall fix on. 
It may be designated by the Governor as the third, fourth, &c., 
day after the rising of the legislature, which will give it certain- 
ty enough. 

You ask what sum would be desirable for the purchase of books 
and apparatus ? Certainly the largest you can obtain. Forty or 
fifty thousand dollars Would enable us to purchase the most es- 
sential books of texts and reference for the schools, and such an 
apparatus for mathematics, astronomy and chemistry, as may en- 
able us to set out with tolerable competence, if we can, through 
the banks and otherwise, anticipate the whole sum at once. 

I remark what you say on the subject of committing ourselves 
to any one for the law appointment. Your caution is perfectly 
just. I hope, and am certain, that this will be the standing law 
of discretion and duty with every member of our board, in this 
and all cases. You know we have all, from the beginning, con- 
sidered the high qualifications of our professors, as the only 
means by which we could give to our institution splendor and 
pre-eminence over all its sister seminaries. The only question, 
therefore, we can ever ask ourselves, as to any candidate, will 
be, is he the most highly qualified ? The college of Philadel- 
phia has lost its character of primacy by indulging motives of 
favoritism and nepotism, and by conferring the appointments as 
if the professorships were entrusted to them as provisions for 
their friends. And even that of Edinburgh, you know, is also 


much lowered from the same cause. We are next to obseive, 
that a man is not qualified for a professor, knowing nothing but 
merely his own profession. He should be otherwise well educat- 
ed as to the sciences generally ; able to converse understandingly 
with the scientific men with whom he is associated, and to as- 
sist in the councils of the faculty on any subject of science on 
which they may have occasion to deliberate. Without this, he 
will incur their contempt, and bring disreputation on the institu- 
tion. With respect to the professorship you mention, I scarcely 
know any of our judges personally ; but I will name, for exam- 
ple, the late Judge Roane, who, I believe, was generally admit- 
ted to be among the ablest of them. His knowledge was con- 
fined to the common law chiefly, which does not constitute one- 
half of the qualification of a really learned lawyer, much less that 
of a professor of law for an University. And as to any other 
branches of science, he mast have stood mute in the presence of 
his literary associates, or of any learned strangers or others visit- 
ing the University. Would this constitute the splendid stand we 
propose to take ? 

In the course of the trusts I have exercised through life with 
powers of appointment, I can say with truth, and with unspeak- 
able comfort, that 1 never did appoint a relation to office, and 
that merely because I never saw the case in which some one did 
not ofi'er, or occur, better qualified ; and I have the most unlimited 
confidence, that in the appointment of Professors to our nursling 
institution, every individual of my associates will look with a single 
eye to the sublimation of its character, and adopt, as our sacred 
motto, '' detur dig?iiori." In this way it will honor us, nd bless 
our country. 

I perceive that I have permitted my reflections to run mto 
generalities beyond the scope of the particular intimation in yom' 
letter. I will let them go, however, as a general confession of 
faith, not belonging merely to the present case. 

Name me affectionately to our brethren with you, and be as- 
sured yourself of my constant friendship and respect. 



MoNTiCELLO, February 4, 1 824. 

Dear Sir, — I duly received your favor of the 13th, and with 
it, the last number of the North American Review. This has 
anticipated the one I should receive in course, but have not yet 
received, under my subscription to the new series. The article 
on the African colonization of the people of color, to which you 
invite my attention, I have read with great consideration. It is, 
indeed, a fine one, and will do much good. I learn from it more, 
too, than I had before known, of the degree of success and prom- 
ise of that colony. 

In the disposition of these unfortunate people, there are two 
rational objects to be distinctly kept in view. First. The es- 
tablishment of a colony on the coast of Africa, which may intro- 
duce among the aborigines the arts of cultivated life, and the 
blessings of civilization and science. By doing this, we may 
make to them some retribution for the long course of injuries we 
have been committing on their population. And considering 
that these blessings will descend to the " nati natorum, et qui 
nascentur ab illis" we shall in the long run have rendered them 
perhaps more good than evil. To fulfil this object, the colony 
of Sierra Leone promises well, and that of Mesurado adds to our 
prospect of success. Under this view, the colonization society 
is to be considered as a missionary society, having in view, how- 
ever, objects more humane, more justifiable, and less aggressive 
on the peace of other nations, than the others of that appellation. 

The econd object, and the most interesting to us, as coming 
home to our physical and moral characters, to our happiness and 
safety, is to provide an asylum to which we can, by degrees, send 
the whole of that population from among us, and establish them 
under our patronage and protection, as a separate, free and inde- 
pendent people, in some country and climate friendly to human 
life and happiness. That any place on the coast of Africa should 
answer the latter purpose, I have ever deemed entirely impossible. 
And without repeating the other arguments which have been urged 


by others, I will appeal to figures only, which admit no contro- 
versy. I shall speak in round numbers, not absolutely accurate, 
yet not so wide from truth as to vary the result materially. 
There are in the United States a million and a half of people of 
color in slavery. To send off the whole of these at once, no- 
body conceives to be practicable for us, or expedient for them. 
Let us take twenty-five years for its accomplishment, within 
which time they will be doubled. Their estimated value as prop- 
erty, in the first place, (for actual property has been lawfully 
vested in that form, and who can lawfully take it from the pos- 
sessors ?) at an average of two hundred dollars each, young and 
old, would amount to six hundred millions of dollars, which must 
be paid or lost by somebody. To this, add the cost of their 
transportation by land and sea to Mesurado, a year's provision of 
food and clothing, implements of husbandry and of their trades, 
which will amount to three hundred millions more, making 
thirty-six millions of dollars a year for twenty-five years, with 
insurance of peace all that time, and it is impossible to look at 
the question a second time. I am aware that at the end of about 
sixteen years, a gradual detraction from this sum will commence, 
from the gradual diminution of breeders, and go on during the 
remaining nine years. Calculate this deduction, and it is still 
impossible to look at the enterprise a second time. I do not say 
this to induce an inference that the getting rid of them is forever 
impossible. For that is neither my opinion nor my hope. But 
only that it cannot be done in this way. There is, I think, a 
way in which it can be done ; that is, by emancipating the after- 
born, leaving them, on due compensation, with their mothers, 
until their services are worth theii' maintenance, and then put- 
img them to industrious occupations, until a proper age for de- 
portation. This was the result of my reflections on the subject 
five and forty years ago, and I have never yet been able to con- 
ceive any other practicable plan. It was sketched in the Notes 
on Virginia, under the fourteenth query. The estimated value 
of the new-born infant is so low, (say twelve dollars and fifty 
cents,) that it would probably be yielded by the owner gratis. 


and would thus reduce the six hiindred millions of dollars, the 
first head of expense, to thirty-seven millions and a half ; leaving 
only the expenses of nourishment while with the mother, and 
of transportation. And from what fund are these expenses to 
be furnished ? Why not from that of the lands which have 
been ceded by the very States now needing this relief? And 
ceded on no consideration, for the most part, but that of the gen- 
eral good of the whole. These cessions already constitute one 
fourth of the States of the Union. It may be said that these 
lands have been sold ; are now the property of the citizens com- 
posing those States ; and the money long ago received and ex- 
pended. But an equivalent of lands in the territories since ac- 
quired, may be appropriated to that object, or so much, at least, 
as may be sufficient ; and the object, although more important 
to the slave States, is highly so to the others also, if they were 
serious in their arguments on the Missouri question. The slave 
States, too, if more interested, would also contribute more by 
their gratuitous liberation, thus taking on themselves alone the 
first and heaviest item of expense. 

In the plan sketched in the Notes on Virginia, no particular 
place of asylum was specified ; because it was thought possible, 
that in the revolutionary state of America, then commenced, 
events might open to us some one within practicable distance. 
This has now happened. St. Domingo has become independent, 
and with a population of that color only ; and if the public papers 
are to be credited, their Chief offers to pay their passage, to re- 
ceive them as free citizens, and to provide them employment. 
This leaves, then, for the general confederacy, no expense but of 
nurture with the mother a few years, and would call, of course, 
for a very moderate appropriation of the vacant lands. Suppose 
the whole annual increase to be of sixty thousand effective births, 
fifty vessels, of four hundred tons burthen each, constantly em- 
ployed in that short run, would carry off' the increase of every 
year, and the old stock would die oiF in the ordinary course of 
nature, lessening from the commencement until its final disap- 
pearance. In this way no violation of private right is proposed, 


Voluntary surrenders -would probably come in as fast as the means 
to be provided for their care would be competent to it. Looking 
at my own State only, and I presume not to speak for the others, 
I verily believe that this surrender of property would not amount 
to more, annually, than half our present direct taxes, to be con- 
tinued fully about twenty or twenty-five years, and then gradually 
diminishing for as many more until their final extinction ; and 
even this half tax would not be paid in cash, but by the delivery 
of an object which they have never yet known or counted as part 
of their property ; and those not possessing the object will be called 
on for nothing. I do not go into all the details of the burthens 
and benefits of this operation. And who could estimate its blessed 
effects ? I leave this to those who will live to see their accom- 
plishment, and to enjoy a beatitude forbidden to my age. But I 
leave it with this admonition, to rise and be doing. A million 
and a half are within their control ; but six millions, (which a 
majority of those now living will see them attain,) and one mill- 
ion of these fighting men, will say, " we will not go." 

I am aware that this subject involves some constitutional scru- 
ples. But a liberal construction, justified by the object, may go 
far, and an amendment of the constitution, the whole length ne- 
cessary. The separation of infants from their mothers, too, would 
produce some scruples of humanity. But this would be straining 
at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. 

I am much pleased to see that you have taken up the subject 
of the duty on imported books. I hope a crusade will be kept 
up against it, until those in power shall become sensible of this 
stain on our legislation, and shall wipe it from their code, and from 
the remembrance of man, if possible. 

I salute you with assurances of high respect and esteem. 



MoNTicELLO, February H, 1824. 

Dear Sir, — I have to thank you for the copy of Colonel Tay- 
lor's New Views of the Constitution, and shall read them with 
the satisfaction and edification which I have ever derived from 
whatever he has written. But I fear it is the voice of one crying 
in the wilderness. Those who formerly usurped the name of 
federalists, which, in fact, they never were, have now openly 
abandoned it, and are as openly marching by the road of con- 
struction, in a direct line to that consolidation which was always 
their real object. They, almost to a man, are in possession of 
one branch of the government, and appear to be very strong in 
yours. The three great questions of amendment now before 
you, will give the measure of their strength. I mean, 1st, the 
limitation of the term of the presidential service ; 2d, the placing 
the choice of president effectually in the hands of the people ; 
3d, the giving to Congress the power of internal improvement, 
on condition that each State's federal proportion of the monies 
so expended, shall be employed within the State. The friends 
of consolidation would rather take these powers by construction 
than accept them by direct investiture from the States. Yet, as 
to internal improvement particularly, there is probably not a 
State in the Union which would not grant the power on the con- 
dition proposed, or which would grant it without that. 

The best general key for the solution of questions of power 
between our governments, is the fact that " every foreign and 
federal power is given to the federal government, and to the 
States every poweB purely domestic." I recollect but one m- 
stance of control vested in the federal, over the State authorities 
ui a matter purely domestic, which is that of metallic tenders. 
The federal is, in truth, our foreign government, which depart- 
ment alone is taken from the sovereignty of the separate States. 

The real friends of the constitution in its federal form, if they 
wish it to be immortal, should be attentive, by amendments, to 
make it keep pace with the advance of the age in science and 


experience. Instead of this, the European governments have re- 
sisted reformation, until the people, seeing no other resource, un- 
dertake it themselves by force, their only weapon, and work it 
out through blood, desolation and long-continued anarchy. Here 
it will be by large fragments breaking off, and refusing re-union 
but on condition of amendment, or perhaps permanently. If I 
can see these three great amendments prevail, I shall consider it 
as a renewed extension of the term of our lease, shall live in 
more confidence, and die in more hope. And I do trust that the 
republican mass, which Colonel Taylor justly says is the real 
federal one, is still strong enough to carry these truly federo-re- 
publican amendments. With my prayers for the issue, accept 
my friendly and respectful salutations. 


MoNTicELLo, February 25, 1824. 

SiK, — The kindness of the motive which led to the request of 
your letter of the 14th instant, and which would give some value 
to an article from me, renders compliance a duty of gratitude ; 
knowing nothing more moral, more sublime, more worthy of 
your preservation than David's description of the good man, in 
his 15th Psalm, I will here transcribe it from Brady & Tate's 
version : 

Lord, who's the happy man that may to thy blest courts repair, 
Not stranger-like, to visit them, but to inhabit there ? 
"Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves. 
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart disproves. 
"Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound, 
Nor hearken to a false report by malice whispered round. 
Who, vice, in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect; 
And piety, though clothed in rags, religiously respect. 
Who, to his plighted vowa and trust, has ever firmly stood, 
And though he promise to his loss he makes his promise good. 
Whose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ, 
Whom no rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy. 
The man who by this steady course has happiness ensured, 
When earth's foundation shakes, shall stand by providence secured. 
VOi. VII. 22 


Accept this as a testimony of my respect for your request, an 
acknowledgment of a due sense of the favor of your opinion, 
and an assurance of my good will and best wishes. 



MoNTiOKLLO, March 24, 1824. 

I have to thank you, dear Sir, for the copy I have received 
of your System of Universal Science, for which, I presume, I 
am indebted to yourself. It will be a monument of the learning 
of the author and of the analyzing powers of his mind. Whether 
it may be adopted in general use is yet to be seen. These an- 
alytical views indeed must always be ramified according to their 
object. Yours is on the great scale of a methodical encyclope- 
dia of all human sciences, taking for the basis of their distribu- 
tion, matter, mind, and the union of both. Lord Bacon founded 
his first great division on the faculties of the mind which have 
"cognizance of these sciences. It does not seem to have been ob- 
served by any one that the origination of this division was not 
with him. It had been proposed by Charron more than twenty 
years before, in his book de la Sagesse, B. 1, c. 14, and an im- 
perfect ascription of the sciences to these respective faculties was 
there attempted. This excellent moral work was published in 
1600. Lord Bacon is said not to have entered on his great work 
until his retirement from public office in 1621. Where sciences 
are to be arranged in accommodation to the schools of an univer- 
sity, they will be grouped to coincide with the kindred qualifica- 
tions of Professors in ordinary. For a library, which was my 
object, their divisions and subdivisions will be made such as to 
throw convenient masses of books under each separate head. 
Thus, m the library of a physician, the books of that science, of 
which he has many, will be subdivivided under many heads ; 
and those of law, of which he has few, will be placed under a 
single one. The lawyer, again, will distribute his law books 
under many subdivisions, his medical under a single one. Your 


idea of making the subject matter of the sciences the basis of 
their distribution, is certainly more reasonable than that of the 
faculties to which they are addressed. The materialists will per- 
haps criticize a basis, one-half of which they will say is a non- 
existence ; adhering to the axiom of Aristotle, " nihil est in in- 
tellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu" and affirming that we 
can have no evidence of any existence which impresses no sense. 
Of this opinion were most of the ancient philosophers, and several 
of the early and orthodox fathers of the christian church. Indeed, 
Jesus himself, the founder of our religion, was unquestionably a 
materialist as to man. In all his doctrines of the resurrection, he 
teaches expressly that the body is to rise in substance. In the 
Apostles' Creed, we all declare that we believe in the "resurrec- 
tion of the body." Jesus said that God is spirit [tif u(i»] with- 
out defining it. Tertullian supplies the definition, " quis nega- 
hit Deum esse corpus, etsi Deus Spiritus 7 spiritus etiam corporis 
sui getieris in sua effigie." And Origen, " itnuintjon accipi, docet, 
pro eo quod non est simile huic nostro crassiori et visibli corpori, 
sed quod est naturaliter subtile et velut aura tenue." The mod- 
ern philosophers mostly consider thought as a function of our ma- 
terial organization ; and Locke particularly among them, charges 
with blasphemy those who deny that Omnipotence could give 
the faculty of thinking to certain combinations of matter. 

Were I to re-compose my tabular view of the sciences, I 
should certainly transpose a particular branch. The naturalists, 
you know, distribute the history of nature into three kingdoms 
or departments : zoology, botany, mineralogy. Ideology or mind, 
however, occupies so much space in the field of science, that we 
might perhaps erect it into a fourth kingdom or department. 
But, inasmuch as it makes a part of the animal construction only, 
it would be more proper to subdivide zoology into physical and 
moral. The latter including ideology, ethics, and mental science 
generally, in my catalogue, considering ethics, as well as relig- 
ion, as supplements to law in the government of man, I had 
placed them in that sequence. But certainly the faculty of 
thought belongs to animal history, is an important portion of it 


and should there find its place. But these are speculations in 
which I do not now permit myself to labor. My mind unwill- 
ingly engages in severe investigations. Its energies, indeed, are 
no onger equal to them. Being to thank you for your book, its 
subject has run away with me into a labyrinth of ideas no longer 
familiar, and writing also has become a slow and irksome opera- 
tion with me. I have been obliged to avail myself of the pen 
of a granddaughter for this communication. I will here, there- 
fore, close my task of thinking, hers of writing, and yours of read- 
ing, with assurances of my constant and high respect and esteem. 


MoNTicELLO, M.arch 21, 1824 

Dear Sir, — I have to thank you for your Greek reader, which, 
tor the use of schools, is evidently preferable to the Collectanea 
Grseca. These have not arranged their selections so well in gra- 
dation from the easier to the more difficult styles. 

On the subject of the Greek ablative, I dare say that your his- 
torical explanation is the true one. In the early stages of lan- 
guages, the distinctions of cases may well be supposed so few as 
to be readily effected by changes of termination. The Greeks, 
in this way, seem to have formed five, the Latins six, and to 
have supplied their deficiences as they occurred in the progress 
of development, by prepositive words. In later times, the Ital- 
ians, Spaniards, and French, have depended on prepositions alto- 
gether, without any inflection of the primitive word to denote 
the change of case. What is singular as to the English is, that 
in its early form of Anglo-Saxon, having distinguished several 
cases by changes of termination, at later periods it has dropped 
these, retains but that of the genitive, and supplies all the others 
by prepositions. These subjects, with me, are neither favorites 
nor familiar ; and your letter has occasioned me to look more 
into the particular one in question than I had ever done before. 
Turning, for satisfaction, to the work of Tracy, the most pro- 


found of our ideological writers, and to the volume particularly 
which treats of grammar, I find what I suppose to be the correct 
doctrine of the case. Omitting unnecessary words to abridge 
writing, I copy what he says : " II y a des langues qui par cer- 
tains changemens de desinence, appelles cas, indiquent quelques- 
uns des rapports des noms avec d'autres noms ; mais beaucoup 
de langues n'ont point de cas ; et celles qui en ont, n'en ont qu'un 
petit nombre, tandis que les divers rapports qu'une idee pent avoir 
avec une autre sont extremement multiplies : ainsi, les cas ne 
peuvent exprimer qu'en general, les principaux de ces rapports. 
Aussi dans toutes les langues, meme dans celles qui ont des cas, 
on a senti le besoin de mots distincts, separes des autres, et ex- 
pressement destines a cet usage ; ils ce qu'on appelle des preposi- 
tions." 2 Tracy Siemens d'Ideologie, c. 3, '§> 5, p. 114, and he 
names the Basque "and Peruvian languages, whose nouns have 
such various changes of termination as to express all the relations 
which other languages express by prepositions, and therefore 
having no prepositions. On this ground, I suppose, then, we 
may rest the question of the Greek ablative. It leaves with me 
a single difficulty only, to-wit : the instances where they have 
given the ablative signification to the dative termination, some 
of which I quoted in my former letter to you. 

I have just received a letter from Coray, at Paris, of the 28th 
December, in which he confirms the late naval success of the 
Greeks, but expresses a melancholy fear for his nation, " qui a 
montre jusqu'a ce moment des prodiges de valeur, mais qui, 
delivree d'un joug de Cannibass, ne pent encore posseder ni les 
legons d'instruction, ni celles de I'experience." I confess I have 
the same fears for our South American brethren ; the qualifica- 
tions for self-government in society are not innate. They are 
the result of habit and long training, and for these they wi.l re- 
quire time and probably much suffering. 

I salute you with assurances of great esteem and respect. 



MoNTiCELLO, April 4, 1 824. 

Dear Sik, — It was with great pleasure I learned that the good 
people of New Orleans had restored you again to the councils of 
our country. I did not doubt the aid it would bring to the re- 
mains of our old school in Congress, in which your early labors 
had been so useful. You will find, I suppose, on revisiting our 
maritime States, the names of things more changed than the 
things themselves ; that though our old opponents have given up 
their appellation, they have not, in assuming ours, abandoned 
their views, and that they are as strong nearly as they ever were. 
These cares, however, are no longer mine. I resign myself cheer- 
fully to the managers of the ship, and the more contentedly, as I 
am near the end of my voyage. I have learned to be less confi- 
dent in the conclusions of human reason, and give more credit to 
the honesty of contrary opinions. The radical idea of the char- 
acter of the constitution of our government, which I have adopted 
as a key in cases of doubtful construction, is, that the whole field 
of government is divided into two departments, domestic and 
foreign, (the States in their mutual relations being of the latter;) 
that the former department is reserved exclusively to the respec- 
tive States within their own limits, and the latter assigned to a 
separate set of functionaries, constituting what may be called the 
foreign branch, which, instead of a federal basis, is established as 
a distinct government quoad hoc, acting as the domestic branch 
does on the citizens directly and coercively ; that these depart- 
partments have distinct directories, co-ordinate, and equally in- 
dependent and supreme, each within its own sphere of action. 
Whenever a doubt arises to which of these branches a power be- 
longs, I try it by this test. I recollect no case where a question 
simply between citizens of the same State, has been transferred 
to the foreign department, except that of inhibiting tenders but 
of metallic money, and ex post facto legislation. The causes of 
these singularities are well remembered. 

I thank you for the copy of your speech on the question of 


national improvement, which I have read with great pleasure, 
and recognize in it those powers of reasoning and persuasion of 
which I had formerly seen from you so many proofs. Yet, in 
candor, I must say it has not removed, in my mind, all the diffi- 
culties of the question. And I should really be alarmed at a dif- 
ference of opinion with you, and suspicious of my own, were it 
not that I have, as companions in sentiments, the Madisons, the 
Monroes, the Randolphs, the Macons, all good men ^nd true, of 
primitive principles. In one sentiment of the speech I particu- 
larly concur. "If we have a doubt relative to any power, we 
ought not to exercise it." When we consider the extensive and 
deep-seated opposition to this assumption, the conviction enter- 
tained by so many, that this deduction of powers by elaborate 
construction prostrates the rights reserved to the States, the diffi- 
culties with which it will rub along in the course of its exercise ; 
that changes of majorities will be changing the system back- 
wards and forwards, so that no undertaking mider it will be safe ; 
that there is not a State in the Union which would not give the 
power willingly, by way of amendment, with some little guard, 
perhaps, against abuse ; I cannot but think it would be the wisest 
course to ask an express grant of the power. A government held 
together by the bands of reason only, requires much compromise 
of opinion ; that things even salutary should not be crammed 
down the throats of dissenting brethren, especially when they 
may be put into a form to be willingly swallowed, and that a 
great deal of indulgence is necessary to strengthen habits of har- 
mony and fraternity. In such a case, it seems to me it would be 
safer and wiser to ask an express grant of the power. This 
would render its exercise smooth and acceptable to all, and in- 
sure to it all the facilities which the States could contribute, to 
prevent that kind of abuse which all will fear, because all know 
it is so much practised in public bodies, I mean the bartering of 
votes. It would reconcile every one, if limited by the proviso, 
that the federal proportion of each State should be expended 
within the State. With this single security against partiality 
and corrupt bargaining, I suppose there is not a State, perhaps 


not a man in the Union, who would not consent to atld this tc 
the powers of the general government. But age has 'v^eaned me 
from questions of this kind. My delight is now in the passive 
occupation of reading ; and it is with great reluctance I permit 
my mind ever to encounter subjects of difficult investigation. 
You have many years yet to come of vigorous activity, and I 
confidently trust they will be employed in cherishing every 
measure which may foster our brotherly union, and perpetuate a 
constitution of government destined to be the primitive and pre- 
cious model of what is to change the condition of man over the 
globe. With this confidence, equally strong in your powers and 
purposes, I pray you to accept the assurance of my cordial es- 
teem and respect. 


MoNTicELLO, April 19, 1824. 

Deah Sir, — I received in due time your favor of the 12th, re- 
questing my opinion on the proposition to call a convention for 
amending the constitution of the State. That this should not be 
perfect cannot be a subject of wonder, when it is considered that 
ours was not only the first of the American States, but the first 
nation in the world, at least within the records of history, which 
peaceably by its wise men, formed on free deliberation, a consti- 
tution of government for itself, and deposited it in writing, among 
their archives, always ready and open to the appeal of every citi- 
zen. The other States, who successively formed constitutions 
for themselves also, had the benefit of our outline, and have made 
on it, doubtless, successive improvements. One in the very out- 
set, and which has been adopted in every subsequent constitu- 
tion, was to lay its foundation in the authority of the nation. To 
our convention no special authority had been delegated by the 
people to form a permanent constitution, over which their suc- 
cessors in legislation should have no powers of alteration. They 
had been elected for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, 


and at a time when the estabhshment of a new government had 
not been proposed or contemplated. Although, therefore, they 
gave to this act the title of a constitution, yet it could be no more 
than an act of legislation subject, as their other acts were, to al- 
teration by their successors. It has been said, indeed, that the 
acquiescence of the people supplied the want of original power. 
But it is a dangerous lesson to say to them "whenever your 
functionaries exercise unlawful authority over you, if you do 
not go into actual resistance, it will be deemed acquiescence and 
confirmation." How long had we acquiesced under usurpations 
of the British parliament ? Had that confirmed them in right, 
and made our revolution a wrong ? Besides, no authority has 
yet decided whether this resistance must be instantaneous ; Avhen 
the right to resist ceases, or whether it has yet ceased ? Of the 
twenty-four States now organized, twenty-three have disapproved 
our doctrine and example, and have deemed the authority of their 
people a necessary foundation for a constitution. 

Another defect which has been corrected by most of the States 
iS, that the basis of our constitution is in opposition to the princi- 
ple of equal political rights, refusing to all but freeholders any 
participation in the natural right of self-government. It is be- 
lieved, for example, that a very great majority of the militia, on 
whom the burthen of military duty was imposed in the late war, 
were men unrepresented in the legislation which imposed this 
burthen on them. However nature may by mental or physical 
disqualifications have marked infants and the weaker sex for the 
protection, rather than the direction of government, yet among 
the men who either pay or fight for their country, no line of 
right can be drawn. The exclusion of a majority of our free- 
men from the right of representation is merely arbitrary, and an 
usurpation of the minority over the majority ; for it is believed 
that the non-freeholders compose the majority of our free and 
adult male citizens. 

And even among our citizens who participate in the represent- 
ative privilege, the equality of political rights is entirely prostrat- 
ed by our constitution. Upon which principle of right or rea- 


son can any one justify the giving to every citizen of Warwick 
as much weight in the government as to twenty-two equal citi- 
zens in Loudon, and similar inequalities among the other coun- 
ties ? If these fundamental principles are of no importance in 
actual government, then no principles are important, and it is as 
well to rely on the dispositions of an administration, good or 
evil, as on the provisions of a constitution. 

I shall not enter into the details of smaller defects, although 
others there doubtless are, the reformation of some of which 
might very much lessen the expenses of government, improve its 
organization, and add to the wisdom and purity of its adminis- 
tration in all its parts ; but these things I leave to others, not per- 
mitting myself to take sides in the political questions of the day. 
I willingly acquiesce in the institutions of my country, perfect or 
imperfect ; and think it a duty to leave their modifications to 
those who are to live under them, and are to participate of the 
good or evU they may produce. The present generation has the 
same right of self-government which the past one has exercised 
for itself. And those in the full vigor of body and mind are 
more able to judge for themselves than those who are sinking 
under the wane of both. If the sense of our citizens on the 
question of a convention can be fairly and fully taken, its result 
will, I am sure, be wise and salutary ; and far from arrogating 
the office of advice, no one will more passively acquiesce in it 
than myself. Retiring, therefore, to the tranquillity called for by 
increasing years and debility, I wish not to be understood as in- 
termeddling in this question ; and to my prayers for the general 
good, I have only to add assurances to yourself of my great esteem. 


MoNTiCELLO, April 20, 1824. 

Sir, — I have duly received your favor of the 6th instant, in- 
forming me of the institution of a debating society in Hingham, 
composed of adherents to the republican principles of the revolu- 


tion ; and I am justly sensible of the honor done my name by 
associating it with the title of the society. The object of the 
society is laudable, and in a republican nation, whose citizens 
are to be led by reason and persuasion, and not by force, the art 
of reasoning becomes of first importance. In this line antiquity 
has left us the finest models for imitation ; and he who studies 
and imitates them most nearly, will nearest approach the perfec- 
tion of the art. Among these I should consider the speeches of 
Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus, as pre-eminent specimens of logic, 
taste, and that sententious brevity which, using not a word to 
spare, leaves not a moment for inattention to the hearer. Am- 
plification is the vice of modern oratory. It is an insult to an 
assembly of reasonable men, disgusting and revolting instead of 
persuading. Speeches measured by the hour, die with the hour. 
I will not, however, further indulge the disposition of the age to 
sermonize, and especially to those surrounded by so much better 
advice. With my apologies, therefore, for hazarding even these 
observations, and my prayers for the success of your institution, 
be pleased to accept for the society and yourself the assurances 
of my high consideration. 


MoNTiCELLO, April 26, 1824. 

Dear Sik, — I have heretofore informed you that our legisla- 
ture had midertaken the establishment of an University in Vir- 
ginia ; that it was placed in my neighborhood, and under the di- 
rection of a board of seven risitors, of whom I am one, Mr. 
Madison another, and others equally worthy of confidence. We 
have been four or five years engaged in erecting our buildings, 
all of which are now ready to receive their tenants, one excepted, 
which the present season will put into a state for use. The last 
session of our legislature had by new donations liberated the 
revenue of fifteen M. D. a year, with which they had before en- 
dowed the institution, and we propose to open it the beginning 


of the next year. We require the intervening time for seeking 
out and engaging Professors. As to these we have determined 
to receive no one who is not of the first order of science in hia 
line ; and as such in every branch cannot be obtained with us, 
we propose to seek some of them at least in the countries ahead 
of us in science, and preferably in Great Britain, the land of our 
own language, habits, and manners. But how to find out those 
who are of the first grade of science, of sober correct habits and 
morals, harmonizing tempers, talents for communication, is the 
difficulty. Our first step is to send a special agent to the Uni- 
versities of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh, to make the se- 
lection for us ; and the person appointed for this office is the gen- 
tleman who will hand you this letter, — Mr. Francis Walker 
Gilmer, — the best-educated subject we have raised since the 
revolution, highly qualified in all the important branches of 
science, professing particularly that of the law, which he has 
practised some years at our Supreme Court with good success 
and flattering prospects. His morals, his amiable temper and 
discretion, will do justice to any confidence you may be willing 
to place in him, for I commit him to you as his mentor and guide 
in the business he goes on. We do not certainly expect to ob- 
tain such known characters as were the Cullens, the Robertsons 
and Persons of Great Britain, men of the first eminence estab- 
lished there in reputation and office, and with emoluments not 
to be bettered anywhere. But we know that there is another 
race treading on their heels, preparing to take their places, and 
as well and sometimes better qualified to fill them. These 
while unsettled, surrounded by a crowd of competitors, of equal 
claims and perhaps superior credit and interest, may prefer a 
comfortable certainty here for an uncertain hope there, and a lin- 
gering delay even of that. From this description we expect we 
may draw professors equal to those of the highest name. The 
difficulty is to distinguish them ; for we are told that so over- 
charged are all branches of business in that country, and such the 
difficulty of getting the means of living, that it is deemed al- 
lowable in ethics for even the most honorable minds to give 


highly exaggerated recommendations and certificates to enable a 
friend or protege to get into a livelihood ; and that the moment 
our agent should be known to be on such a mission, he would 
be overwhelmed by applications from numerous pretenders, all 
of whom, worthy or unworthy, would be supported by such rec- 
ommendations and such names as would confound all discrimi- 
nation. On this head our trust and hope is in you. Your 
knowledge of the state of things, your means of finding out a 
character or two at each place, truly trustworthy, and into whose 
hands you can commit our agent with entire safety, for informa- 
tion, caution and co-operation, induces me to request your patron- 
age and aid in our endeavors to obtain such men, and such only 
as will fulfil our views. An unlucky selection in the outset 
would forever blast our prospects. From our information of the 
character of the different Universities, we expect we should go 
to Oxford for our classical professor, to Cambridge for those of 
Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Natural History, and to 
Edinburgh for a professor of Anatomy, and the elements or out- 
lines only of Medicine. We have still our eye on Mr. Blaetter- 
man for the professorship of modern languages, and Mr. Gilmer 
is instructed to engage him, if no very material objection to him 
may have arisen unknown to us. We can place in Mr. Gilmer's 
hands but a moderate sum at present for merely text books to 
begin with, and for indispensable articles of apparatus. Mathe- 
matical, Astronomical, Physical, Chemical and Anatomical. We 
are in the hope of a sum of $50,000, as soon as we can get a 
settlement passed through the public offices. My experience in 
dealing with the bookseller Lackington, on your recommendation, 
has induced me to recommend him to Mr. Gilmer, and if we can 
engage his fidelity, we may put into his hands the larger supply 
of books when we are ready to call for it, and particularly what 
we shall propose to seek in England. 

Although I have troubled you with many particulars, 1' vet 
leave abundance for verbal explanation with Mr. Gilmer, who 
possesses a full knowledge of everything, and our full confidence 
in everything. He takes with him plans of our establishment, 


which we think it may be encouraging to show to the persons 
to whom he will make propositions, as well to let them see the 
comforts provided for themselves, as to show by the extensive- 
ness and expense of the scale, that it is no ephemeral thing to 
which they are invited. 

With my earnest solicitations that you will give us al' your 
aid in an undertaking on which we rest the hopes and happiness 
of out country, accept the assurances of my sincere friendship, 
attachment and respect. 


MoNTicELLO, May 16, 1824. 

Dear Sik, — Your favor of the 5th, from Williamsburg, has 
been duly received, and presents to us a case of pregnant charac- 
ter, admitting important issues, and requiring serious considera- 
tion and conduct ; yet I am more inclined to view it with hope 
than dismay. It involves two questions. First. Shall the col- 
lege of William and Mary be removed ? Second. To what 
place ? As to the first, I never doubted the lawful authority of 
the legislature over the college, as being a public institution and 
endowed from the public property, by public agents for that func- 
tion, and for public purposes. Some have doubted this author- 
ity without a relinquishment of what they call a vested right by 
the body corporate. But as their voluntary relinquishment is a 
circumstance of the case, it is relieved from that doubt. I cer- 
tainly never wished that my venerable alma mater should be dis- 
turbed. I considered it as an actual possession of that ancient 
and earliest settlement of our forefathers, and was disposed to see 
it yielded as a courtesy, rather than taken as a right. They, 
however, are free to renounce a benefit, and we to receive it. 
Had we dissolved it on the principle of right, to give a direction 
to its funds more useful to the public, the professors, although 
their chartered tenure is during pleasure only, might have reason- 
ably expected a vale of a year or two's salary, as an intermediate 


support, until they could find other employment for their talents. 
And notwithstanding that their abandonment is voluntary, this 
should still be given them. On this first question I think we 
should be absolutely silent and passive, taking no part in it until 
the old institution is loosened from its foundation and fairly 
placed on its wheels. 

2. On the second question, to what place shall it be moved ? 
we may take the field boldly. Richmond, it seems, claims it, 
but on what ground of advantage to the public ? When the pro- 
fessors, their charter and funds shall be translated to Richmond, 
will they become more enlightened there than at the old place ? 
Will they possess more science ? be more capable of communi- 
cating it ? or more competent to raise it from the dead, in a new 
sect, than to keep it alive in the ancient one ? Or has Richmond 
any peculiarities more favorable for the communication of the 
sciences generally than the place which the legislature has pre- 
ferred and fixed on for that purpose ? This will not be pretend- 
ed. But it seems they possess advantages for a medical school. 
Let us scan them. Anatomy may be as competently taught at 
the University as at Richmond, the only subjects of discretion 
which either place can count on are equally acquirable at both. 
And as to medicine, whatever can be learned from lectures or 
books, may be taught at the University of Virginia as well as at 
Richmond, or even at Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, or 
Boston, with the inestimable additional advantage of acquiring, 
at the same time, the kindred sciences by attending the other 
schools. But Richmond thinks it can have a hospital which will 
furnish subjects for the clinical branch of medicine. The classes 
of people which furnish subjects for the hospitals of Baltimore, 
Philadelphia, New York and Boston, do not exist at Richmond. 
The shipping constantly present at those places, furnish many 
patients. Is there a ship at Richmond ? The class of white 
servants in those cities which is numerous and penniless, and 
whose regular resource in sickness is always the hospital, consti- 
tutes the great body of their patients ; this class does not exist at 
Richmond. The servants there are slaves, whose masters are by 


law obliged to take care of them in sickness as in health, and 
who could not be admitted into a hospital. These resources, 
then, being null, the free inhabitants alone remain for a hospital 
at Richmond. And I will ask how many families in Richmond 
would send their husbands, wives, or children to a hospital, in 
sickness, to be attended by nurses hardened by habit against the 
feelings of pity, to lie in public rooms harassed by the cries an(? 
sufferings of disease under every form, alarmed by the groans Oj 
the dying, exposed as a corpse to be lectured over by a clinical 
professor, to be crowded and handled by his students to hear 
their case learnedly explained to them, its threatening symptoms 
developed, and its probable termination foreboded ? In vindica- 
tion of Richmond, I may surely answer that there is not in the 
place a family so heartless, as, relinquishing their own tender 
cares of a child or parent, to abandon them in sickness to this 
last resource of poverty ; for it is poverty alone which peoples 
hospitals, and those alone who are on the charities of their parish 
would go to their hospital. Have they paupers enough to fill a 
hospital ? and sickness enough among these ? One reason alleged 
for the removal of the college to Richmond is that Williamsburg 
is sickly, is happily little apt for the situation of a hospital. No 
Sir ; Richmond is no place to furnish subjects for clinical lec- 
tures. I have always had Norfolk in view for this purpose. The 
climate and pontine country around Norfolk render it truly sickly 
in itself. It is, moreover, the rendezvous not only of the ship- 
ping of commerce, but of the vessels of the public navy. The 
United States have there a hospital already established, and sup- 
plied with subjects from these local circumstances. I had thought 
and have mentioned to yourself and oxu- colleagues, that when 
our medical school has got well under way, we should propose 
to the federal government the association with that establishment, 
and at our own expense, of the clinical branch of our medica. 
school, so that our students, after qualifying themselves with the 
other branches of the science here, might complete their course 
of preparation by attending clinical Jectures for six or twelve 
months at Norfolk. 


But Richmond has another claim, as being the seat of govern- 
ment. The indisposition of Richmond towards our University 
has not been unfelt. But would it not be wiser in them to rest 
satisfied with the government and their local academy ? Can they 
afford, on the question of a change of the seat of government, by 
hostilizing the middle counties, to tranfer them from the eastern 
to the western interest ? To make it their interest to withdraw 
from the former that ground of claim, if used for adversary pur- 
poses ? With things as they are, let both parties remain content 
and united. 

If, then, William and Mary is to be removed, and not to Rich- 
mond, can there be two opinions how its funds are to be directed 
to the best advantage for the public ? When it was found that 
that seminary was entirely ineffectual towards the object of pub- 
lic education, and that one on a better plan, and in a better situa- 
tion, must be provided, what was so obvious as to employ for 
that purpose the funds of the one abandoned, with what more 
would be necessary, to raise the new establishment ? And what 
so obvious as to do now what might reasonably have been done 
then, by consolidating together the institutions and their funds ? 
The plan sanctioned by the legislature required for our University 
ten professors, but the funds appropriated will maintain but eight, 
and some of these are consequently over-burthened with duties ; 
the hundred thousand dollars of principal which you say still re- 
mains to William and Mary, by its interest of six thousand dol- 
lars, would give us the two deficient professors, with an annual 
surplus for the purchase of books ; and certainly the legislature 
will see no public interest, after the expense incurred on the new 
establishment, in setting up a rival in the city of Richmond ; 
they cannot think it better to have two institutions crippling one 
another, than one of healthy powers, competent to that highest 
grade of instruction which neither, with a divided support, could 
expect to attain. 

Another argument may eventually arise in favor of consolida. 
tion. The contingent gift at the late session, of fifty thousand 
dollars, for books and apparatus, shows a sense in the legislature 

VOL. vir. 23 


that those objects are still to be provided. If we fail in obtaining 
that sum, they will feel an incumbency to provide it otherwise. 
What so ready as the derelict capital of William and Mary, and 
the large library they uselessly possess ? Should that college 
then be removed, I cannot doubt that the legislature, keeping in 
view its original object, will consolidate it with the University. 

But it will not be removed. Richmond is doubtless in earnest, 
but that the visitors should concur is impossible. The professors 
are the prime-movers, and do not mean exactly what they pro- 
pose. They hold up this raw-head and bloody-bones in terrorem 
to us, to force us to receive them into our institution. Men who 
have degraded and foundered the vessel whose helm was en- 
trusted to them, want now to force their incompetence on us. I 
know none of them personally, but judge of them from the fact 
and the opinion I hear from every one acquainted with the case, 
that it has been destroyed by their incompetence and mis-man- 
agement. Until the death of Bishop Madison, it kept at its usual 
stand of about eighty students. It is now dwindled to about 
twenty, and the professors acknowledge that on opening our 
doors, theirs may be shut. Their funds in that case, would cer- 
tainly be acceptable and salutary to us. But not with the incu- 
bus of their faculty. When they iind that their feint gives us no 
alarm, they will retract, will recall their grammar school, make 
their college useful as a sectional school of preparation for the 
University, and teach the languages, surveying, navigation, plane 
trigonometry, and such other elements of science as will be 
useful to many whose views do not call for a university educa- 

I will only add to this long letter an opinion that we had better 
say as little as we can on this whole subject ; give them no 
alarm ; let them petition for the removal ; let them get the old 
structure completely on wheels, and not till then put in our claim 
to its reception. I shall communicate your letter, as you re- 
quest, to Mr. Madison, and with it this answer. Why can you 
not call on us on your way to Warminster, and make this a sub- 
ject of conversation ? With my devoted respects to Mrs. Cabell. 


assure her that she can be nowhere more cordially received than 
by the family of Monticello. And the deviation from your di- 
rect road is too small to merit consideration. Ever and affection- 
ately yonr friend and servant. 


Monticello, June 5, 1824. 

Dear and Venerable Sib, — I am much indebted for your kind 
letter of February the 29th, and for your valuable volume on the 
English constitution. I have read this with pleasure and much 
approbation, and think it has deduced the constitution of the 
English nation from its rightful root, the Anglo-Saxon. It is 
really wonderful, that so many able and learned men should have 
failed in their attempts to define it with correctness. No wonder 
then, that Paine, who thought more than he read, should have 
credited the great authorities who have declared, that the will of 
parliament is the constitution of England. So Marbois, before 
the French revolution, observed to me, that the Almanac Royal 
was the constitution of France. Your derivation of it from the 
Anglo-Saxons, seems to be made on legitimate principles. Hav- 
ing driven out the former inhabitants of that part of the island 
called England, they became aborigines as to you, and your 
lineal ancestors. They doubtless had a constitution ; and al- 
though they have not left it in a written formula, to the precise 
text of which you may always appeal, yet they have left frag- 
ments of their history and laws, from which it may be inferred 
with considerable certainty. Whatever their history and laws 
show to have been practised with approbation, we may presume 
was permitted by their constitution ; whatever was not so prac- 
ticed, was not permitted. And although this constitution was 
violated and set at naught by Norman force, yet force carmot 
change right. A perpetual claim was kept up by the nation, by 
their perpetual demand of a restoration of their Saxon laws , 
which shows they were never relinquished by the will of the 


nation. In the puUings and haulings for these ancient rights, 
between the nation, and its kings of the races of Plantagenets, 
Tudors and Stuarts, there was sometimes gain, and sometimes 
loss, until the final re-conquest of their rights from the Stuarts. 
The destitution and expulsion of this race broke the thread of 
pretended inheritance, extinguished all regal usurpations, and the 
nation re-entered into all its rights ; and although in their bill of 
rights they specifically reclaimed some only, yet the omission of 
the others was no renunciation of the right to assume their eser- 
cise also, whenever occasion should occur. The new King re- 
ceived no rights or powers, but those expressly granted to 
him. It has ever appeared to me, that the difiererice between 
the whig and the tory of England is, that the whig deduces his 
rights from the Anglo-Saxon source, and the tory from the Nor- 
man. And Hume, the great apostle of toryism, says, in so many 
words, note AA to chapter 42, that, in the reign of the Stuarts, 
" it was the people who encroached upon the sovereign, not the 
sovereign who attempted, as is pretended, to usurp upon the peo- 
ple." This supposes the Norman usurpations to be rights in his 
successors. And again, 0, 159, " the commons established a prin- 
ciple, which is noble in itself, and seems specious, but is belied 
by all history and experience, that the people are the origin of all 
just power." And where else will this degenerate son of science, 
this traitor to his fellow men, find the origin oi just powers, if 
not in the majority of the society ? Will it be in the minority ? 
Or in an individual of that minority ? 

Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground. It 
presented us an album on which we were free to write what we 
pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to 
hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institu- 
tions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of na- 
ture, and found them engraved on our hearts. Yet we did not 
avail ourselves of all the advantages of our position. We had 
never been permitted to exercise self-government. When forced 
to assume it, we were novices in its science. Its principles and 
forms had entered little into our former education. We estab- 


lished however some, although not all its important principles. 
The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is 
inherent in the people ; that they may exercise it by themselves, 
in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in 
electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding 
by a jmy of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact 
is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally 
chosen ; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed ; 
that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, 
freedom of property, and freedom of the press. In the structure 
of our legislatures, we think experience has proved the benefit 
of subjecting questions to two separate bodies of deliberants ; but 
in constituting these, natural right has been mistaken, some mak- 
ing one of these bodies, and some both, the representatives of 
property instead of persons ; whereas the double deliberation 
might be as well obtained without any violation of true prin- 
ciple, either by requiring a greater age in one of the bodies, or 
by electing a proper number of representatives of persons, divid- 
ing them by lots into two chambers, and renewing the division 
at frequent intervals, in order to break up all cabals. Virginia, 
of which I am myself a native and resident, was not only the 
first of the States, but, I believe I may say, the first of the na- 
tions of the earth, which assembled its wise men peaceably to- 
gether to form a fundamental constitution, to commit it to writ- 
ing, and place it among their archives, where every one should 
be free to appeal to its text. But this act was very imperfect. 
The other States, as they proceeded successively to the same 
work, made successive improvements ; and several of them, still 
further corrected by experience, have, by conventions, still fur- 
ther amended their first forms. My own State has gone on so 
far with its premiere ehauche ; but it is now proposing to call a 
convention for amendment. Among other improvements, I hope 
they will adopt the subdivision of our counties into wards. The 
former may be estimated at an average of twenty-four miles 
^uare ; the latter should be about six miles square each, and 
would answer to the hundreds of your Saxon Alfred. In each 


of these might be, 1st. An elementary school ; 2d. A company 
of militia, with its ofRicers; 3d. A justice of the peace and con- 
stable ; 4th. Each ward should take care of their own poor ; 
5th. Their own roads ; 6th. Their own police ; 7th. Elect within 
themselves one or more jurors to attend the courts of justice ; 
and 8th. Give in at their Folk-house, their votes for all function- 
aries reserved to their election. Each ward would thus be a 
small republic within itself, and every man in the State would 
thus become an acting member of the common government, trans- 
acting in person a great portion of its rights and duties, subor- 
dinate indeed, yet important, and entirely within his competence. 
The wit of man cannot devise a more solid basis for a free, dur- 
able and well-administered republic. 

With respect to our State and federal governments, I do not 
think their relations correctly understood by foreigners. They 
generally suppose the former subordinate to the latter. But this 
is not the case. They are co-ordinate departments of one simple 
and integral whole. To the State governments are reserved all 
legislation and administration, in affairs which concern their own 
citizens only, and to the federal government is given whatever 
concerns foreigners, or the citizens of other States ; these func- 
tions alone being made federal. The one is the domestic, the 
other the foreign branch of the same government ; neither hav- 
ing control over the other, but within its own department. There 
are one or two exceptions only to this partition of power. But, 
you may ask, if the two departments should claim each the 
same subject of power, where is the common umpire to decide 
ultimately between them ? In cases of little importance or ur- 
gency, the prudence of both parties will keep them aloof from 
the questionable ground ; but if it can neither be avoided nor 
compromised, a convention of the States must be called, to ascribe 
the doubtful power to that department which they may think 
best. You will perceive by these details, that we have not yet 
so far perfected our constitutions as to venture to make them un- 
changeable. But still, in their present state, we consider them 
uot otherwise changeable than by the authority of the people. 


on a spec'.al election of representatives for that purpose expressly : 
they are until then the lex legum. 

But can they be made unchangeable ? Can one generation 
bind another, and all others, in succession forever ? I think not. 
The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. 
Righfe and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not 
to mere matter, unendowed with will. The dead are not even 
things. The particles of matter which composed their bodies, 
make part now of the bodies of other animals, vegetables, or min- 
erals, of a thousand forms. To what then are attached the rights 
and powers they held while in the form of men ? A generation 
may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life ; when 
that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the 
rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change 
their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is 
unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man. 

I was glad to find in your book a formal contradiction, at 
length, of the judiciary usurpation of legislative powers ; for such 
the judges have usurped in their repeated decisions, that Chris- 
tianity is a part of the common law. The proof of the contrary, 
which you have adduced, is incontrovertible ; to wit, that the 
common law existed while the Anglo-Saxons were yet Pagans, 
at a time when they had never yet heard the name of Christ 
pronounced, or knew that such a character had ever existed. 
But it may amuse you, to show when, and by what means, they 
stole this law in upon us. In a case of quare iinpedit in the 
Year-book 34, H, 6, folio 38, (anno 1458,) a question was made, 
how far the ecclesiastical law was to be respected in a common 
law court ? And Prisot, Chief Justice, gives his opinion in these 
words : "A tiel leis qu' ils de seint eglise out en micien scrip- 
ture, covient a nous a donner credence ; car ceo common ley sur 
quels touts manners leis sont fondes. Et auxy. Sir, nous sumus 
obleges de conustre loin: ley de saint eglise ; et semblablement ils 
sont obliges de consustre nostre ley. Et, Sir, si poit apperer or a 
nous que I'evesque ad fait come un ordinary fera en tiel cas, adong 
nous devons cee adjuger bon, ou auterment nemy," &c. See S. 


C. Fitzh. Abr. Glu. imp. 89, Bro. Abr. Q,u. imp. 12. Finch in 
his first book, c. 3, is the first afterwards who quotes this case 
and mistakes it thus : '• To such laws of the church as have 
warrant in holy scripture, our law giveth credence." And cites 
Prisot ; mistranslating " ancien scripture,'''' into " holy scriptureJ" 
Whereas Prisot palpably says, "to such laws as those of ' holy 
church have in ancient writing, it is proper for us to give cre- 
dence," to wit, to their ancient written laws. This was in 1613, 
a century and a half after the dictum of Prisot. Wingate, in 
1658, erects this false translation into a maxim of the common 
law, copying the words of Finch, but citing Prisot, Wing. Max. 
3. And Sheppard, title, " Religion," in 1675, copies the same 
mistranslation, quoting the Y. B. Finch and Wingate. Hale ex- 
presses it in these words : " Christianity is parcel of the laws of 
England." 1 Ventr. 293, 3 Keb. 607. But he quotes no au- 
thority. By these echoings and re-echoings from one to another, 
it had become so established in 1728, that in the case of the 
King vs. Woolston, 2 Stra. 834, the court would not sufiier it to 
be debated, whether to write against Christianity was punishable 
in the temporal court at common law ? Wood, therefore, 409, 
ventures still to vary the phrase, and say, that all blasphemy and 
profaneness are oifences by the common law ; and cites 2 Stra. 
Then Blackstone, in 1763, IV. 59, repeats the words of Hale, 
that " Christianity is part of the laws of England," citing Ventris 
and Strange. And finally. Lord Mansfield, with a little qualifi- 
cation, in Evans' case, in 1767, says, that " the essential princi- 
ples of revealed religion are part of the common law." Thus 
ingulphing Bible, Testament and all into the common law, with- 
out citing any authority. And thus we find this chain of author- 
ities hanging link by link, one upon another, and all ultimately 
on one and the same hook, and that a mistranslation of the words 
•' ancien scripture," used by Prisot. Finch quotes Prisot ; Win- 
gate does the same. Sheppard quotes Prisot, Finch and Wing- 
ate. Hale cites nobody. The court in Woolston's case, cites 
Hale. Wood cites Woolston's case. Blackstone quotes Wool- 
ston's case and Hale. And Lord Mansfield, like Hale, ventures 


it on his own authority. Here I might defy the best-read law- 
yer to produce another scrip of authority for this judiciary forg- 
ery ; and 1 might go on further to show, how some of the Anglo- 
Saxon priests interpolated into the text of Alfred's laws, the 20th, 
21st, 22d, and 23d chapters of Exodus, and the 15th of the Acts 
of the Apostles, from the 23d to the 29th verses. But this would 
lead my pen and your patience too far. What a conspiracy this, 
between Church and State ! Sing Tantarara, rogues all, rogues 
all, Sing Tantarara, rogues all ! 

I must still add to this long and rambling letter, my acknowl- 
edgments for your good wishes to the University we are now es- 
tablishing in this State. There are some novelties in it. Of 
that of a professorship of the principles of government, you ex- 
press your approbation. They will be founded in the rights of 
man. That of agriculture, I am sure, you will approve ; and 
that also of Anglo-Saxon. As the histories and laws left us in 
that type and dialect, must be the text books of the reading of the 
learners, they will imbibe with the language their free principles 
of government. The volumes you have been so kind as to send, 
shall be placed in the library of the University. Having at this 
time in England a person sent for the purpose of selecting some 
Professors, a Mr. Gilmer of my neighborhood, I cannot but rec- 
ommend him to your patronage, counsel and guardianship, against 
imposition, misinformation, and the deceptions of partial and false 
recommendations, in the selection of characters. He is a gentle- 
man of great worth and correctness, my particular friend, well 
educated in various branches of science, and worthy of entire 

Your age of eighty-four and mine of eighty-one years, insure 
us a speedy meeting. We may then commune at leisure, and 
more fuUy, on the good and evil which, in the course of our 
long lives, we have both witnessed ; and in the meantime, I pray 
you to accept assurances of my high veneration and esteem for 
yom' person and character. 



MoNTicKLLO, June 29, 1824. 

Dear Sir, — I have to thank you for Mr. Pickering's elaborate 
philippic against Mr. Adams, Gerry, Smith, and myself; and I 
have delayed the acknowledgment until I could read it and make 
some observations on it. 

I could not have believed, that for so many years, and to such 
a period of advanced age, he could have nourished passions so 
vehement and viperous. It appears, that for thirty-years past, 
he has been industriously collecting materials for vituperating the 
characters he had marked for his hatred ; some of whom, certain- 
ly, if enmities towards him had ever existed, had forgotten them 
all, or buried them in the grave with themselves. As to myself, 
there never had been anything personal between us, nothing but 
the general opposition of party sentiment ; and our personal in- 
tercourse had been that of urbanity, as himself says. But it 
seems he has been all this time brooding over an enmity which 
I had never felt, and that with respect to myself, as well as oth- 
ers, he has been writing far and near, and in every direction, to 
get hold of original letters, where he could, copies, where he 
could not, certificates and journals, catching at every gossiping 
story he could hear of in any quarter, supplying by suspicions 
what he could find nowhere else, and then arguing on this mot- 
ley farrago, as if established on gospel evidence. And while ex- 
pressing his wonder, that " at the age of eighty-eight, the strong 
passions of Mr. Adams should not have cooled ;" that on the con- 
trary, "they had acquired the mastery of his soul," (p. 100;) 
that " where these were enlisted, no reliance could be placed on 
his statements," (p. 104;) the facility and little truth with which 
he could represent facts and occurrences, concerning persons who 
were the objects of his hatred, (p. 3 ;) that " he is capable of 
making the grossest misrepresentations, and, from detached facts, 
and often from bare suspicions, of drawing unwarrantable infer- 
ences, if suited to his purpose at the instant," (p. 174;) while 
making such charges, I say, on Mr, Adams, instead of his " ecce 


homo" (p. 100 ;) how justly might we say to him, " mutato nom- 
ine, de tefabtda 7iarratur." For the assiduity and industry he 
has employed in his benevolent researches after matter of crim- 
ination against us, I refer to his pages 13, 14, 34, 36, 46, 71. 79, 
90, bis. 92, 93, bis. 101, ter. 104, 116, 118, 141, 143, 146, 150, 
151, 153, 168, 171, 172. That Mr. Adams' strictures on him, 
written and printed, should have excited some notice on his part, 
was not perhaps to be wondered at. But the sufficiency of his 
motive for the large attack on me may be more questionable. 
He says, (p. 4) " of Mr. Jefferson I should have said nothing, but 
for his letter to Mr. Adams, of October the 12th, 1823." Now 
the object of that letter was to soothe the feelings of a friend, 
wounded by a publication which I thought an " outrage on pri- 
vate confidence." Not a word or allusion in it respecting Mr. 
Pickering, nor was it suspected that it would draw forth his pen 
in justification of this infidelity, which he has, however, under- 
taken in the course of his pamphlet, but more particularly in its 

He arraigns me on two grounds, my actions and my motives. 
The very actions, however, which he arraigns, have laeen such 
as the great majority of my fellow citizens have approved. The 
approbation of Mr. Pickering, and of those who thought with 
him, I had no right to expect. My motives he chooses to ascribe 
to hypocrisy, to ambition, and a passion for popularity. Of these 
the world must judge between us. It is no office of his or mine. 
To that tribunal I have ever submitted my actions and motives, 
without ransacking the Union for certificates, letters, journals, 
and gossiping tales, to justify myself and weary them. Nor shall 
I do this on the present occasion, but leave still to them these 
antiquated party diatribes, now newly revamped and paraded, as 
if they had not been aheady a thousand times repeated, refuted, 
and adjudged against him, by the nation itself. If no action is 
to be deemed virtuous for which malice can imagine a sinister 
motive, then there never was a virtuous action ; no, not even in 
the life of our Saviour himself. But he has taught us to judge 


the tree by its fruit, and to leave motives to him who can alone 
see into them. 

But whilst I leave to its fate the libel of Mr. Pickering, with 
the thousands of others like it, to which I have given no other 
answer than a steady course of similar action, there are two facts 
or fancies of his which I must set to rights. The one respects 
Mr. Adams, the other myself. He observes that my letter of 
October the 12th, 1823, acknowledges the receipt of one from 
Mr. Adams, of September the 18th, which, having been written 
a few days after Cunningham's publication, he says was no doubt 
written to apologize to me for the pointed reproaches he had ut- 
tered against me in his confidential letters to Cunningham. And 
thus having "no doubt" of his conjecture, he considers it as 
proven, goes on to suppose the contents of the letter, (19, 22,) 
makes it place Mr. Adams at my feet' suing for pardon, and con- 
tinues to rant upon it, as an undoubted fact. Now, I do most 
solemnly declare, that so far from being a letter of apology, as 
Mr. Pickering so undoubtedly assumes, there was not a word or 
allusion in it respecting Cunningham's publication. 

The other allegation respecting myself, is equally false. In 
page 34, he quotes Doctor Stuart as having, tweiity years ago, 
informed him that General Washington, " when he became a 
private citizen," called me to account for expressions in a letter 
to Mazzei, requiring, in a tone of unusual severity, an explana- 
tion of that letter. He adds of himself, " in what manner the 
latter humbled himself and appeased the just resentment of 
Washington, will never be made known, as some time after his 
death the correspondence was not to be found, and a diary for an 
important period of his presidency was also missing." The diary 
being of transactions during his presidency, the letter to Mazzei 
not known here until some time after he became a private citi- 
zen, and the pretended correspondence of course after that, I 
know not why this lost diary and supposed correspondence are 
brought together here, unless for insinuations worthy of the letter 
itself. The correspondence could not be found, indeed, because 
it had never existed. I do affirm that there never passed a word, 


written or verbal, directly or indirectly, between General Wash- 
ington and myself on the subject of that letter. He would 
never have degraded himself so far as to take to himself the im- 
putation in that letter on the " Samsons in combat." The 
whole story is a fabrication, and I defy the framers of it, and all 
mankind, to produce a scrip of a pen between General Washing- 
ton and myself on the subject, or any other evidence more wor- 
thy of credit than the suspicions, suppositions and presumptions 
of the two persons here quoting and quoted for it. With Doctor 
Stuart I had not much acquaintance. I supposed him to be an 
honest man, knew him to be a very weak one. and, like Mr. 
Pickering, very prone to antipathies, boiling with party passions, 
and under the dominion of these readily welcoming fancies for 
facts. But come the story from whomsoever it might, it ia d.n 
unqualified falsehood. 

This letter to Mazzei has been a precious theme of ciiniina- 
tion for federal malice. It was a long letter of business, in cvhich 
was inserted a single paragraph only of political information as 
to the state of our country. In this information there was not 
one word which would not then have been, or would not now 
be approved by every republican in the United States, looking 
back to those times, as you will see by a faithful copy now en- 
closed of the whole of what that letter said on the subject of the 
United States, or of its government. This paragraph, extracted 
and translated, got into a Paris paper at a time when the persons 
in power there were laboring under very general disfavor, and 
their friends were eager to catch even at straws to buoy them 
up. To them, therefore, I have always imputed the interpola- 
tion of an entire paragraph additional to mine, which makes me 
charge my own country with ingratitude and injustice to France 
There was not a word in my letter respecting France, or any of 
the proceedings or relations between this country and that. Yet 
this interpolated paragraph has been the burthen of federal cal- 
umny, has been constantly quoted by them, made the subject of 
unceasing and virulent abuse, and is still quoted, as you see, by Mr. 
Pickering, page 33, as if it were genuine, and really written by 


me. And even Judge Marshall makes history descend from its 
dignity, and the ermine from its sanctity, to exaggerate, to re- 
cord, and to sanction this forgery. In the very last note of his 
book, he says, " a letter from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Mazzei, au 
Italian, was published in Florence, and re-publishfid in the Moni- 
teur, with very severe strictures on the conduct of the United 
States." And instead of the letter itself, he copies what he says 
are the remarks of the editor, which are an exaggerated com- 
mentary on the fabricated paragraph itself, and silently leaves to 
his reader to make the ready inference that these were the sen- 
timents of the letter. Proof is the duty of the affirmative side. 
A negative cannot be positively proved. But, in defect of im- 
possible proof of what was not in the original letter, I have its 
press-copy still in my possession. It has been shown to several, 
and is open to any one who wishes to see it. I have presumed 
only, that the interpolation was done in Paris. But I never saw 
the letter in either its Italian or French dress, and it may have 
been done here, with the commentary handed down to posterity 
by the Judge. The genuine paragraph, re-translated through 
Italian and French into English, as it appeared here in a federal 
paper, besides the mutilated hue which these translations and re- 
translations of it produced generally, gave a mistranslation of a 
single word, which entirely perverted its meaning, and made it 
a pliant and fertile text of misrepresentation of my political prin- 
ciples. The original, speaking of an Anglican, monarchical and 
aristocratical party, which had sprung up since he had left us, 
states their object to be " to /draw over us the substance, as they 
had already done the forms of the British Government." Now the 
" forms " here meant, were the levees, birthdays, the pompous 
cavalcade to the state house on the meeting of Congress, the 
formal speech from the throne, the procession of Congress in a 
body to re-echo the speech in an answer, &c., &c. But the 
translator here, by substituting form in the singular number, for 
forms in the plural, made it mean the frame or organization of 
our government, or its form of legislative, executive and judiciary 
authorities, coordinate and independent ; to which form it was 


to be inferred that I was an enemy. In this sense they always 
quoted it, and in this sense Mr. Pickering still quotes it, pages 34, 
35, 38, and countenances the inference. Now General Wash- 
ington perfectly understood what I meant by these forms, as they 
were i'requent subjects of conversation between us. When, on 
my return from Europe, I joined the government in March, 1790, 
at New York, I was much astonished, indeed, at the mimicry I 
found established of roya) forms and ceremonies, and more alarmed 
at the unexpected phenomenon, by the monarchical sentiments I 
heard expressed and openly maintained in every company, and 
among others by the high members of the government, executive 
and judiciary, (General Washington alone excepted,) and by a 
great part of the legislature, save only some members who had 
been of the old Congress, and a very few of recent introduction. 
I took occasion, at various times, of expressing to General Wash- 
ington my disappointment at these symptoms of a change of 
principle, and that I thought them encouraged by the forms and 
ceremonies which I found prevailing, not at all in character with 
the simplicity of republican government, and looking as if wish- 
fully to those of European courts. His general explanations to 
me were, that when he arrived at New York to enter on the ex- 
ecutive administration of the new government, he observed to 
those who were to assist him, that placed as he was in an office 
entirely new to him, unacquainted with the forms and ceremo- 
nies of other governments, still less apprized of those which 
might be properly established here, and himself perfectly indiffer- 
ent to all forms, he wished them to consider and prescribe what 
they should be ; and the task was assigned particularly to Gen- 
eral Knox, a man of parade, and to Colonel Humphreys, who 
had resided some time at a foreign court. They, he said, were 
the authors of the present regulations, and that others were pro- 
posed so highly strained that he absolutely rejected them. At- 
tentive to the difference of opinion pre trailing on this subject, 
when the term of his second election arrived, he called the Heads 
of departments together, observed to them the situation in which 
be had been at the commencement of the government, the ad- 


vice he had taken and the course he had observed in comphance 
with it ; that a proper occasion had now arrived of revising that 
course, of correcting it in any particulars not approved in expe- 
rience ; and he desired us to consult together, agree on any 
changes we should think for the better, and that he should will- 
ingly conform to what we should advise. We met at my office. 
Hamilton and myself agreed at once that there was too much 
ceremony for the character of our government, and particularly, 
that the parade of the installation at New York ought not to be 
copied on the present occasion, that the President should desire 
the Chief Justice to attend him at his chambers, that he should 
administer the oath of office to him in the presence of the higher 
officers of the government, and that the certificate of the fact 
should be delivered to the Secretary of State to be recorded. 
Randolph and Knox differed from us, the latter vehemently ; 
they thought it not advisable to change any of the established 
forms, and we authorized Randolph to report our opinions to the 
President. As these opinions were divided, and no positive ad- 
vice given as to any change, no change was made. Thus the 
forms which I had censured in my letter to Mazzei were per- 
fectly understood by General Washington, and were those which 
he himself but barely tolerated. He had furnished me a proper 
occasion for proposing their reformation, and my opinion not pre- 
vailing, he knew I could not have meant any part of the censure 
for him. 

Mr. Pickering quotes, too, (page 34) the expression in the 
letter, of " the men who were Samsons in the field, and Solo- 
mons in the council, but who had had their heads shorn by the 
harlot England ;" or, as expressed in their re-translation, " the 
men who were Solomons in council, and Samsons in combat, but 
whose hair had been cut off by the whore England." Now this 
expression also was perfectly understood by General Washing- 
ton. He knew that I meant it for the Cincinnati generally, and 
that from what had passed between us at the commencement of 
that institution, I could not mean to include him. When the 
first meeting was called for its establishment, I was a member o^ 


tne Congress chen sitting at Annapolis. General Washington 
wrote to me, asking my opinion on thit proposition, and the 
course, if any, which I thought Congress would observe respect- 
ing it. I wrote him frankly my own disapprobation of it ; that 
1 found the members of Congress generally in the same senti- 
ment ; that I thought they would take no express notice of it, 
but that in all appointments of trust, honor, or profit, they would 
silently pass by all candidates of that order, and give an uniform 
preference to others. On his way to the first meeting in Phil- 
adelphia, which I think was in the spring of 1784, he called on 
me at Annapolis. It was a little after candle-light, and he sat 
with me till after midnight, conversing, almost exclusively, on 
that subject. While he was feelingly indulgent to the motives 
which might induce the officers to promote it, he concurred with 
me entirely in condemning it ; and when I expressed an idea 
that if the hereditary quality were suppressed, the institution 
might perhaps be indidged during the lives of the officers now 
living, and who had actually served ; " no," he said, " not a fibre 
of it ought to be left, to be an ej'e-sore to the public, a ground 
of dissatisfaction, and a Ime of separation between them and their 
country ;" and he left me with a determination to use all his in- 
fluence for its entire suppression. On his return from the meet- 
ing he called on me again, and related to me the course the thing 
had taken. He said that from the beginning, he had used every 
endeavor to prevail on the officers to renounce the project alto- 
gether, urging the many considerations which would render it 
odious to their fellow citizens, and disreputable and injurious to 
themselves ; that he had at length prevailed on most of the old 
officers to reject it, although with great and warm opposition 
from others, and especially the younger ones, among whom he 
named Colonel W. S. Smith as particularly intemperate. But 
that in this state of things, when he thought the question safe, 
and the meeting drawing to a close. Major L'Enfant arrived from 
France, with a bundle of eagles, for which he had been sent 
there, with letters from the French officers who had sei-ved in 
America, praying for admission into the order, and a solemn act 

VOL. VIL 24 


of their king permitting them to wear its ensign. This, he said, 
changed the face of matters at once, produced an entire revolu- 
liou of sentiment, and turned the torrent so strongly in an oppo- 
site direction that it could be no longer withstood ; all he conld 
then obtain was a suppression of the hereditary quality. He 
added, that it was the French applications, and respect for the 
approbation of the king, which saved the establishment in its 
modified and temporary form. Disapproving thus of the insti- 
tution as much as I did, and conscious that I knew him to do so, 
he could never suppose that I meant to include him among the 
Samsons in the field, whose object was to draw over us the form, 
as they made the letter say, of the British government, and espe- 
cially its aristocratic- member, an hereditary house of lords. Add 
to this, that the letter saying " that two out of the three branches 
of legislature were against us," was an obvious exception of him ; 
it being well known that the majorities in the two branches of 
Senate and Representatives, were the very instruments which 
carried, in opposition to the old and real republicans, the meas- 
ures which were the subjects of condemnation in this letter, 
Genera] Washington then, understanding perfectly what and 
whom I meant to designate, in both phrases, and that they could 
not have any application or view to himself, could find in neither 
any cause of offence to himself ; and therefore neither needed, 
nor ever asked any explanation of them from me. Had it even 
been otherwise, they must know very little of General Washing- 
ton, who should believe to be within the laws of his character 
what Doctor Stuart is said to have imputed to him. Be this, 
however, as it may, the story is infamously false in every article 
of it. My last parting with General Washington was at the in- 
auguration of Mr. Adams, in March, 1797, and was warmly affec- 
tionate ; and I never had any reason to believe any change on 
his part, as there certainly was none on mine. But one session 
of Congress intervened between that and his death, the year 
following, in my passage to and from which, as it happened to 
be not convenient to call on him, I never had another oppor- 
tunity ; and as to the cessation of correspondence observed dur- 


mg that short interval, no particular circumstance occurred for 
epistolary communication, and both of us were too much opt- 
pressed with letter-writing, to trouble, either the other, with a 
letter about nothing. 

The truth is, that the federalists, pretending to be the exclu- 
sive friends of General Washington, have ever done what they 
could to sink his character, by hanging theirs on it, and by rep- 
resenting as the enemy of republicans him, who, of all men, is 
best entitled to the appellation of the father of that republic Avhich 
they were endeavoring to subvert, and the republicans to main- 
tain. They cannot deny, because the elections proclaimed the 
truth, that the great body of the nation approved the republican 
measures. General Washington was himself sincerely a friend 
to the republican principles of our constitution. His faith, per- 
haps, in its duration, might not have been as confident as mine ; 
but he repeatedly declared to me, that he was determined it 
should have a fair chance for success, and that he would lose ' 
the last drop of his blood in its support, against any attempt 
which might be made to change it from its republican form. He 
made these declarations the oftener, liecausc he knew my sus- 
picions that Hamilton had other views, and he wished to quiet 
my jealousies on this subject. For Hamilton frankly avowed, 
that he considered the British constitution, with all the corrup- 
tions of its administration, as the most perfect model of govern- 
ment which had ever been devised l)y the wit of man ; profess- 
ing however, at the same time, that the spirit of this country 
was so fundamentally republican, that it would be visionary to 
think of introducing monarchy here, and that, therefore, it was 
the duty of its administrators to conduct it on the principles their 
constituents had elected. 

General Washington, after the retirement of his first cabinet, 
and the composition of his second, entirely federal, and at the 
head of which was Mr. Pickering himself, had no opportunity of 
hearmg both sides of any question. His measures, consequently, 
took more the hue of the party in whose hands he was. These 
measures were certainly not approved by the republicans ; vet 


were they not imputed to him, but to the counsellors around him ; 
and his prudence so far restrained their impassioned course and 
bias, that no act of strong mark, during the remainder of his ad- 
ministration, excited much dissatisfaction. He lived too short a 
time after, and too much withdrawn from information, to correct 
the views into which he had been deluded ; and the continued as- 
siduities of the party drew him into the vortex of their intemper- 
ate career ; separated him still farther from his real friends, and 
excited him to actions and expressions of dissatisfaction, which 
grieved them, but could not loosen their affections from him. 
They would not suffer the temporary aberration to weigh against 
the immeasurable merits of his life ; and although they tumbled 
his seducers from their places, they preserved his memory em- 
balmed in their hearts, with undiminished love and devotion ; and 
there it forever will remain embalmed, in entire oblivion of every 
temporary thing which might cloud the glories of his splendid life. 
It is vain, then, for Mr. Pickering and his friends to endeavor to 
falsify his character, by representing him as an enemy to repub- 
licans and republican principles, and as exclusively the friend of 
those who were so ; and had he lived longer, he would have re- 
turned to his ancient and unbiased opinions, would have re- 
placed his confidence in those whom the people approved and 
supported, and would have seen that they were only restoring 
and acting on the principles of his own first administration. 

I find, my dear Sir, that I have written you a very long letter, 
or rather a history. The civility of having sent me a copy of 
Mr. Pickering's diatribe, would scarcely justify its address to you. 
I do not publish these things, because my rule of life has been 
never to harass the public with fendings and provings of personal 
slanders ; and least of all would I descend into the arena of slan- 
der with such a champion as Mr. Pickering. I have ever trusted 
to the justice and consideration of my fellow citizens, and have 
no reason to repent it, or to change my course. At this time of 
life too, tranquillity is the summum bonum. But although I de- 
cline all newspaper controversy, yet when falsehoods have been 
advanced, within the knowledge of no one so much as myself,,! 


have sometimes deposited a contradiction in the hands of a friend, 
which, if worth preservation, may, when I am no more, not 
those whom I might offend, throw light on history, and recall 
that into the path of truth. And if of no other value, the present 
communication may amuse you with anecdotes not known t.> 
every one. 

I had meant to have added some views on the amalgamation of 
parties, to which your favor of the 8th has some allusion ; an amal- 
gamation of name, but not of principle. Tories are tories still, by 
whatever name they may be called. But my letter is already 
too unmercifully long, and I close it here with assurances of my 
great esteem and respectful consideration. 


MoNTTUKI.LO, Julv 14, 1824. 

Dear Sir, — ^I have attentively read your letter to Mr. Wheaton 
on the question whether, at the date of the message to Congress 
recommending the embargo of 1807, we had knowledge of the 
order of council of November 1 1th ; and according to your re- 
quest I have resorted to my papers, as well as my memory, for 
the testimony these might afford additional to yours. There is 
no fact in the course of my life which I recollect more strongly, 
than that of my being at the date of the message in possession 
of an English newspaper containing a copy of the proclamation. 
I am almost certain, too, that it was under the ordinary authenti- 
cation of the government ; and between November 11th and De- 
cember 17th, there was time enough (thirty-five days) to admit 
the receipt of such a paper, which I think came to me through a 
private channel, probably put on board some vessel about sailing, 
the moment it appeared. 

Turning to my papers, I find that I had prepared a first draught 
of a message in which was this paragraph : " The British regu- 
lations had before reduced us to a direct voyage, to a single port 
of their enemies, and it is now believed they will interdict all 


commerce whatever with them. A proclamation, too, of that gov- 
ernment of (not officially indeed communicated to us, yet so 

given out to the public as to become a rule of action with them,) 
seems to have shut the door on all negotiation with us except as 
to the single aggression on the Chesapeake." You, however, 
suggested a substitute (which I have now before me, written 
with a pencil and) which, with some unimportant amendments, 
I preferred to my own, and was the one I sent to Congress. It 
was in these words, " the communications now made, showing 

the great and increasing dangers with which seamen, (fcc, 

ports of the United States." This shows that we communicated 
to them papers of information on the subject ; and as it was our 
interest, and our duty, to give them the strongest information we 
jiossessed to justify our opinion and their action on it, there can 
be no doubt we sent them this identical paper. For what stronger 
could we send them ? I am the more strengthened in the belief 
that we did send it, from the fact, which the newspapers of the 
day will prove, that in the reprobations of the measure published 
in them by its enemies, they indulged themselves in severe criti- 
cisms on our having considered a newspaper as a proper docu- 
ment to lay before Congress, and a sufficient foundation for so 
serious a measure ; and considering this as no sufficient information 
of the fact, they continued perseveringly to deny that we had 
knowledge of the order of council when we recommended the 
embargo ; admitting, because they could not deny, the existence 
of the order, they- insisted only on our supposed ignorance of it 
as furnishing them a ground of crimination. But I had no idea 
that this gratuitous charge was believed by any one at this day. 
In addition to our testimony, I am sure Mr. Gallatin, General 
Dearborne and Mr. Smith, will recollect that we possessed the 
newspaper, and acted on a view of the proclamation it contained. 
If you think this statement can add anything in corroboration of 
yours, make what use you please of it. and accept assuranccL' of 
my constant affection and respect. 



I thank you, Sir, for your pamphlet on the climate of the west, 
and have read it with great satisfaction. Although it does not 
yet establish a satisfactory theory, it is an additional step towards 
it. Mine was perhaps the first attempt, not to form a theory, but 
to bring together the few facts then known, and suggest them to 
public attention. They were written between forty and fifty 
years ago, before the close of the revolutionary war, when the 
western country was a wilderness, untrodden but by the foot of 
the savage or the hunter. It is now flourishing in population 
and science, and after a few years more of observation and col- 
lection of facts, they will doubtless furnish a theory of solid 
foundation. Years are requisite for this, steady attention to the 
thermometer, to the plants growing there, the times of their leaf- 
ing and flowering, its animal inhabitants, beasts, birds, reptiles 
and insects ; its prevalent winds, quantities of rain and snow, 
temperature of fountains, and other indexes of climate. We 
want this indeed for all the States, and the work should be re- 
peated once or twice in a century, to show the effect of clearing 
and culture towards changes of climate. My Notes give a very 
imperfect idea of what our climate was, half a century ago, at 
this place, which being nearly central to the State may be taken 
for its medium. Latterly, after seven years of close and exact 
observation, I have prepared an estimate of what it is now, which 
may some day be added to the former work ; and I hope some- 
thing like this is doing in the other States, which, when all 
shall be brought together, may produce theories meriting con- 
fidence. I trust that yourself will not be inattentive to this ser- 
vice, and that to that of the present epoch you may be able to 
add a second at the distance of another half century. With this 
wish accept the assurance of my respectful consideration. 



MoNTJOELi-o, August 10, 1824. 

SsR, — 1 have duly received y )ur favor of the 14th, and with 
it the prospectus of a newspaper which it covered. If the style 
and spirit of that should be maintained in the paper itself, it will 
be truly worthy of the public patronage. As to myself, it is many 
years since I have ceased to read but a single paper. I am no 
longer, therefore, a general subscriber for any other. Yet, to en- 
courage the hopeful in the outset, I have sometimes subscribed 
for the first year on condition of being discontinued at the end 
of it, without further warning. I do the same now with pleasure 
for yours; and unwilling to have outstanding accounts, which I 
am liable to forget, I now enclose the price of the tri-weekly pa- 
per. I am no believer in the amalgamation of parties, nor do I 
consider it as either desirable or useful for the public ; but only 
that, like religious differences, a difference in politics should never 
be permitted to enter into social intercourse, or to disturb its 
friendships, its charities, or justice. In that form, they are cen- 
sors of the conduct of each other, and useful watchmen for the 
public. Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into 
two parties : 1. Those who fear and distrust tne people, and 
wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher 
classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, 
have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most 
honest and safe, although not ihe most wise depository of the 
public interests. In every country these two parties exist, aad 
in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they 
will declare themselves. Call thein, therefore, liberals and sor- 
viles, Jacobins and ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and fed- 
eralists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you 
please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same ob- 
ject. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the 
true one expressing the essence of all. A paper which shall be 
governed by the spirit of Mr. Madison's celebrated report, of 
which you express in your prospectus so just and high an appro- 


bation, cannot be false to the rights of all classes. The grand- 
fathers of the present generation of your family I knew well. 
They were friends and fellow laborers with me in the same cause 
and principle. Their descendants cannot follow better guides. 
Accept the assurance of my best wishes and respectful considera- 


Mt).\TiuKLLo. September 6 1824. 

Sir, — The idea which you present in your letter of July 30th, 
of the progress of society from its rudest state to that it has now 
attained, seems conformable to what may be probably conjec- 
tured. Indeed, we have under our eyes tolerable proofs of it. 
Let a philosophic observer commence a journey from the savages 
of the Rocky Mountains, eastwardly towards our sea-coast. 
These he would observe in the earliest stage of association living 
under no law but that of nature, subscribing and covering them- 
selves with the flesh and skins of wild beasts. He would next 
find those on our frontiers in the pastoral state, raising domestic 
animals to supply the defects of hunting. Then succeed our 
own semi-barbarous citizens, the pioneers of the advance of civ- 
ilization, and so in his progress he would meet the gradual shades 
of improving man until he would reach his, as yet, most improv- 
ed state in our seaport towns. This, in fact, is equivalent to a 
survey, in time, of the progress of man from the infancy of crea- 
tion to the present day. I am eighty-one years of age, born 
where I now live, in the first range of mountains in the interior 
of our country. And I have observed this march of civilization 
advancing from the sea coast, passing over us like a cloud of 
light, increasing our knowledge and improving our condition, in- 
somuch as that we are at this time more advanced in civilization 
here than the seaports were when I was a boy. And where this 
orogress wD.l stop no one can say. Barbarism has, in tlie mean- 
time, been receding before the steady step of amelioration ; and 
will in time, I trust, disappear from the earth. You soem tc 


think that this advance has brought on too complicated a state 
of society, and that we should gain in happiness by treading 
back our steps a little way. I think, myself, that we have more 
niachiLiery of government than is necessary, too many parasites 
living on the labor of the industrious. I believe it might be 
much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it. Your 
experiment seems to have this in view. A society of seventy 
families, the number you name, may very possibly be governed 
as a single family, subsisting on their common industry, and 
holding all things in common. Some regulators of the family 
you still must have, and it remains to be seen at what period of 
your increasing population your simple regidations will cease to 
be sufficient to preserve order, peace, and justice. The experi- 
ment is interesting ; I shall not live to see its issue, but I wish it 
success equal to your hopes, and to yourself and society prosper- 
ity and happiness. 


MoN'riuELLo, October 9, 1824. 

I hare duly received, my dear friend and General, your letter 
of the 1st from Philadelphia, giving us the welcome assurance 
that you will visit the neighborhood which, during the march of 
our enemy near it, was covered by your shield from his robberies 
and ravages. In passing the line of your former march you will 
experience pleasing recollections of the good you have done. My 
neighbors, too, of our academical village, who well remember 
their obligations to you, have expressed to you, in a letter from a 
''ommittee appointed for that purpose, their hope that you will 
accept manifestations of their feelings, simple indeed, but as cor- 
dial as any you will have received. It will be an additional 
honor to the University of the State that you will have been its 
first guest. Gratify them, then, by this assurance to their com- 
mittee, if it has not been done. But what recollections, dear 
friend, will this call up to you and me ! What a history have 


we to run over from the evening that yourself, Mousnier, Ber- 
nau, and other patriots settled, in my house in Paris, the outlines 
of the constitution you wished ! And to trace it through all the 
disastrous chapters of Robespierre, Barras, Bonaparte, and the 
Bourbons! These things, however, are for our meeting. You 
mention the return of Miss Wright to America, accompanied by 
her sister; but do not say what her' stay is to be, nor what her 
course. Should it lead her to a visit of our University, which, 
in its architecture only, is as yet an object, herself and her com- 
panion will nowhere find a welcome more hearty than with Mrs. 
Randolph, and all the inhabitants of Monticello. This Athenajum 
of our country, in embryo, is as yet but promise ; and not in a 
state to recall the recollections of Athens. But everything has 
its beginning, its growth, and end; and who knows with what 
future delicious morsels of philosophy, and by what future Miss 
Wright raked from its ruins, the world may, some day, be grati- 
fied and instructed ? Your son George wo shall be very happy 
indeed to see, and to renew in him the recollections of your 
very dear family ; and the revolutionary merit of M. le Vasseur 
has that passport to the esteem of every American, and, to me, 
the additional one of having been your friend and co-operator, 
and he will, I hope, join you in making head-quarters with us at 
Monticello. But all these things a revoir, in the meantime we 
are impatient that your ceremonies at York should be over, and 
give you to the embraces of friendship. 

P. S. Will you come by Mr. Madison's, or let him or me know 
on what day he may meet you here, and join us in our greet- 


Monticello, October 13, 1824. 

Dear Sir, — I must again beg the protection of your cover fox 
a letter to Mr. Gilmer ; although a httle doubtful whether he may 
not have left you. 


You will have seen by our papers the delirium into which our 
citizens are thrown by a visit from General La Fayette. He is 
making a triumphant progress through the States, from town to 
town, with acclamations of welcome, such as no crowned head 
ever received. It will have a good effect in favor of the General 
with the people in Europe, but probably a different one with 
their sovereigns. Its effect here, too, will be salutary as to our- 
selves, by rallying us together and strengthening the habit of 
considering oiar country as one and indivisible, and I hope we 
shall close it with something more solid for him than dinners 
and balls. The eclat of this visit has almost merged the Presi- 
dential question, on which nothing scarcely is said in our pa- 
pers. That question will lie ultimately between Crawford and 
Adams ; but, at the same time, the vote of the people will be so 
distracted by subordinate candidates, that possibly they may 
make no election, and let it go to the House of Representatives. 
There, it is thought, Crawford's chance is best. We have nothing 
else interesting before the public. Of the two questions of the 
tariff and public improvements, the former, perhaps, is not yet at 
rest, and the latter will excite boisterous discussions. It happens 
that both these measures fall in with the western interests, and 
it is their secession from the agricultural States which gives such 
strength to the manufacturing and consolidating parties, on these 
two questions. The latter is the most dreaded, because thought 
to amount to a determination in the federal government to as- 
sume all powers non-enumerated as well as enumerated in the 
constitution, and by giving a loose to construction, make the text 
say whatever will relieve them from the bridle of the States. 
These are difficulties for your day ; I shall give them the slip. 
Accept the assurance of my friendly attachment and great respect. 


MoNTcrELLo, October 15, 1824. 

Dear Sir, — I have yet to thank lor your ">. C. K. oration, de- 
livered in presence of General La Fayette. It is all excellent, 


much of il sublimely so, well worthy of its author and his sub- 
ject, of whom we may truly say, as was said of Germanicus, 
"fruitur fama sui." 

Your letter of September the 10th gave me the first information 
that, mine to Major Cartwright had got into the newspapers ; and 
the first notice, indeed, that he had received it. I was a stranger 
to his person, but not to his respectable and patriotic character. 
I received from him a long and interesting letter, and answered it 
with frankness, going without reserve into several subjects, to 
which his letter had led, but on which I did not suppose I was 
writing for the newspapers. The publication of a letter in such 
a case, without the consent of the writer, is not a fair practice. 

The part v/hich you quote, may draw on me the host of judges 
and divines. They may cavil but cannot refute it. Those who 
read Prisot's opinion with a candid view to understand, and not 
to chicane it, cannot mistake its meaning. The reports in the 
Year-books were taken very short. The opinions of the judges 
were written down sententiously, as notes or memoranda, and not 
with all the development which they probably used in delivering 
them. Prisot's opinion, to be fully expressed, should be thus par- 
aphrased : " To such laws as those of holy church have recorded, 
and preserved in their ancient books and writings, it is proper for 
us to give credence ; for so is, or so says the common law, or law 
of the land, on which all manner of other laws rest for their au- 
thority, or are founded ; that is to say, the common law, or the 
law of the land common to us all. and established by the authority 
of us all, is that from which is derived the authority of all other 
special and subordinate branches of law, such as the canon law, 
law merchant, law maritime, law of Gavelkind, Borough English, 
corporation laws, local customs and usages, to all of which the 
common law requires its judges to permit authority in the special 
or local cases belonging to them. The evidence of these laws is 
preserved in their ancient treatises, books and writings, in like 
manner as our own common law itself is known, the text of its 
original enactments having been long lost, and its substance only 
preserved in ancient and traditionary writings. And if it appears, 


from their ancient books, writings and records, that the bishop, in 
this case, according to the rules prescribed by these authorities, 
has done what an ordinary would have done in such case, then 
we should adjudge it good, otherwise not." To decide this ques- 
tion, they would have to turn to the ancient writings and records 
of the canon law, in which they would find evidence of the laws 
of advowsons, quare impedit, the duties of bishops and ordinaries, 
for which terms Prisot could never have meant to refer them to 
the Old or New Testament, les saincts scriptures, where surely 
they would not be found. A license which should permit " ancien 
scripture" to be translated " holy scripture," annihilates at once 
all the evidence of language. With such a license, we might re- 
verse the sixth commandment into " thou shalt not omit murder." 
It would be the more extraordinary in this case, where the mis- 
translation was to effect the adoption of the whole code of the 
Jewish and Christian laws into the text of our statutes, to con- 
vert religious offences into temporal crimes, to make the breach 
of every religious precept a subject of indictment, submit the 
question of idolatry, for example, to the trial of a jury, and to a 
court, its punishment, to the third and fourth generation of the 
offender. Do we allow to our judges this lumping legislation? 

The term " common law," although it has more than one mean- 
ing, is perfectly definite, secundu^n subjectam materiem. Its most 
probable origin was on the conquest of the Heptarchy by Alfre^, 
and the amalgamation of their several codes of law into one, which 
became common to them all. The authentic text of these enact- 
ments has not been preserved ; but their substance has been com- 
mitted to many ancient books and writings, so faithfully as to have 
been deemed genuine from generation to generation, and obeyed 
as such by all. We have some fragments of them collected by 
Lambard, Wilkins and others, but abounding with proofs of their 
spurious authenticity. Magna Charta is the earliest statute, the 
text of which has come down to us in an authentic form, and 
thence downward we have them entire. We do not know exactly 
when the common law and statute law, the lex scripta et nan 
scripta, began to be contra-distinguished, so as to give a second 


acceptation to the former term ; whether before, or after Pnsot's 
day, at which time we know that nearly two centuries and a half 
of statutes were in preservation. In later times, on the introduc- 
tion of the chancery branch of law, the term common law began 
to be used in a third sense, as the correlative of chancery law. 
This, hoAvever, having been long after Prisot's time, could' not 
have been the sense in which he used the term. He must have 
meant the ancient lex non scripta, because, had he used it as in- 
clusive of the lex scripta, he would have put his finger on the 
statute which had enjoined on the judges a deference to the laws 
of holy church. But no such statute existing, he must have re- 
ferred to the common law in the sense of a lex non scripta. 
Whenever, then, the term common law is used in either of these 
senses, and it is never employed in any other, it is readily known 
m which of them, by the context and subject matter imder con- 
sideration ; which, in the present case, leave no room for doubt. 

I do not remember the occasion which led me to take up this 
subject, while a practitioner of the law. But I know I went into 
it with all the research which a very copious law library enabled 
me to indulge ; and I fear not for the accuracy of any of my quo- 
tations. The doctrine might be disproved by many other and 
different topics of reasoning ; but having satisfied myself of the 
origin of the forgery, and found how, like a rolling snow-ball, it 
had gathered volume, I leave its further pursuit to those who 
need further proof, and perhaps I have already gone further than 
the feeble doubt you expressed might require. 

I salute you with great esteem and respect. 

TO . 

MoNTicFLi-o, December 2"2. 1 8"24. 

De.ui Sir, — The proposition to remove William and Mary Col- 
hge to P^ichmond with all its present funds, and to add to it a 
musical school, is nothing more nor less than to remove the Uni- 
versity also to that place. Because, if both remain, there will 


not be students enough to make either worthy the acceptance of 
men of the first order of science. They must each fall down to 
the level of our present academies, under the direction of com- 
mon teachers, and our state of education must stand exactly where 
it now is. Few of the States have been able to maintain one 
university, none two. Surely the legislature, after such an ex- 
pense incurred for a real university, and just as it is prepared to 
go into action under hopeful auspices, will not consent to destroy 
it by this side-wind. As to the best course to be taken with 
William and Mary, I am not so good a judge as our colleagues 
on the spot. They have under their eyes the workings of the 
enemies of the University, masked and unmasked, and the in- 
trigues of Richmond, which, after failing to obtain it in the first 
instance, endeavors to steal its location at this late hour. And 
they can best see what measures are most likely to counteract 
these insidious designs. On the question of the removal, I think 
our particular friends had better take no active part, but vote si- 
lently for or against it, according to their own judgment as to 
the public utility ; and if they divide on the question, so much 
the better perhaps. I am glad the visitors and professors have 
invoked the interference of the legislature, because it is an ac- 
knowledgment of its authority on behalf of the State to super- 
intend and control it, of Avhich I never had a doubt. It is an in- 
stitution established for the public good, and not for the personal 
emolument of the professors, endowed from the public lands and 
organized by the executive functionary whose legal office it was. 
The acquiescence of both corporations under the authority of 
the legislature, removes what might otherwise have been a diffi- 
culty with some. If the question of removal be decided affirm- 
atively, the next is, how shall their funds be disposed of most 
advantageously for the State in general ? These are about one 
hundred thousand dollars too much for a secondary or local in- 
stitution. The giving a part of them to a school at Winches- 
ter, and part to Hampden Sidney, is well, as far as it goes ;■ but 
does not go far enough. Why should not every part of the State 
participate equally of the benefit of this reversion of right which 


accrues to the whole equally ? This would be no more a viola- 
tion of law than the giving it to a few. Yon know that the Rock- 
fish report proposed an intermediate grade of schools between the 
primary and the university. In that report the objects of -the 
middle schools are stated. See page 10 of the copy I now en- 
close you. In these schools should be taught Latin and Greek, 
to a good degree, French also, numerical arithmetic, the elements 
of geometry, surveying, navigation, geography, the use of the 
globes, the outlines of the solar system, and elements of natural 
philosophy. Two professors would suffice for these, to wit : one 
for languages, the other for so much of mathematics and natural 
philosophy as is here proposed. This degree of education would 
be adapted to the circumstances of a very great number of our citi- 
zens, who, being intended for lives of business, would not aim 
at an university education. It would give us a body of yeo- 
manry, too, of substantial information, well prepared to become 
a firm and steady support to the government ; as schools of an- 
cient languages, too, they would be preparatories for the Univer- 

You have now an happy opportunity of carrying this interme- 
diate establishment into execution without laying a cent of tax 
on the people, or taking one from the treasury. Divide the State 
into college districts of about eighty miles square each. There 
would be about eight such districts below the Alleghany, and 
two beyond it, which would be necessarily of larger extent be- 
cause of the spai'seness of their population. The only advance 
thtse colleges would call for, would be for a dwelling house for 
the teacher, of about one thousand two hundred dollars cost, and 
a boarding house with four or five bed rooms, and a school room 
for probably about twenty or thirty boys. The whole should 
not cost more than five thousand dollars, but the funds of Wil- 
liam and Mary would enable you to give them ten thousand dol- 
lars each. The districts might be so laid off that the principal 
towns and the academies now existing might form convenient 
sites for their colleges; as, for example, Wdliamsbuvgh Rich- 
mond, Fredericksburg, Hampden Sidney, Lynchburg or Lexing- 

voL. VII. -;o 


ton, Staunton, Winchester, &c. Thus, of William and Mary; 
you will make ten colleges, each as useful as she ever was, leav- 
ing one in Williamsburg by itself, placing as good a one within 
a day's ride of every man in the State, and get our whole scheme 
of education completely established. 

I have said that no advance is necessary but for the erection 
of the buildings for these schools. Because the boys sent to 
them would be exclusively of a class of parents in competent 
circumstances to pay teachers for the education of their own chil- 
dren. The ten thousand dollars given to each, would afford a 
surplus to maintain by its interest one or two persons duly select- 
ed for their genius, from the primary schools, of those too poor 
to proceed farther of their own means. You will remember that 
of the three bills I originally gave you, one was for these district 
colleges, and going into the necessary details. Will you not 
have every member in favor of this proposition, except those 
who are for gobbling up the whole funds themselves ? The pres- 
ent professors might all be employed in the college of Richmond 
or Williamsburg, or any other they would prefer, with reasonable 
salaries in the meantime, until the system should get under way. 
This occasion of completing our system of education is a God- 
send which ought not to pass away neglected. Many may be 
startled at the first idea. But reflection on the justice and ad- 
vantage of the measure will produce converts daily and hourly 
to it. I certainly would not propose that the University should 
claim a cent of these funds in competition with the district col- 

Would it not be better to say nothing about the last donation 
of fifty thousand dollars, and endeavor to get the money from 
Congress, and to press for it immediately. I cannot doubt their 
allowing it, and it would be much better to get it from them than 
to revive the displeasure of our own legislature. 

You are aware that we have yet two professors vo appoint, to 
wit : of natural history and moral philosophy, and that we have 
no time to lose. I propose that such of our colleagues as are of 
the legislature, should name a day of meeting, convenient to 


themselves, and give notice of it by mail to Mr. Madison, Gen- 
eral Cocke, and myself. But it should not be till the arrival of 
the three professors expected at Norfolk. On their arrival only 
can we publish the day of opening. Our Richmond mail-stage 
arrives here on Sunday and departs on Wednesday, and arrives 
again on Thursday and departs on Sunday. Each affording two 
spare intervening days, and requiring from here an absence of 
six days. 

Mr. Long; professor of ancient languages, is located in his 
apartments at the University. He drew, by lot, pavilion No. 5. 
He appears to be a most amiable man, of fine understanding, 
well qualified for his department, and acquiring esteem as fast as 
he becomes known. Indeed, I have great hope that the whole 
selection will fulfil our wishes. Ever and afiectionately yours. 


MoNTiCELLO, January 8, 1825. 

Dear Sir, — It is long since I have written to you. This pro- 
ceeds from the difficulty of writing with my crippled wrist, and 
from an unwillingness to add to your inconveniences of either 
reading by the eyes, or writing by the hands of others. The 
account I receive of yom- physical situation afflicts me sincerely ; 
but if body or mind was one of them to give way, it is a great 
comfort that it is the mind which remains whole, and that its 
vigor, and that of memory continues firm. Your hearing, too, is 
good, as I am told. In this you have the advantage of me. The 
dulness of mine makes me lose much of the conversation of the 
world, and much a stranger to what is passing in it. Acquies- 
cence is the only pillow, although not always a soft one. I have 
had one advantage of you. This Presidential election has given 
me few anxieties. With you this must have been impossible, 
independently of the question, whether we are at last to end our 
days under a civil or a military government. I am comforted 
and protected from other solicitudes by the cares of our Universi- 


ty. In some departments of science we believe Europe to be in 
advance before us, and that it would advance ourselves were we 
to draw from thence instructors in these branches, and thus to 
improve our science, as we have done our manufactures, by bor- 
rowed skill. I have been much squibbed for this, perhaps by 
disappointed applicants for professorships, to which they were 
deemed incompetent. We wait only the arrival of three of the 
professors engaged in England, to open our University. 

I have lately been reading the most extraordinary of all books, 
and at the same* time the most demonstrative by numerous and 
unequivocal facts. It is Flourend's experiments on the functions 
of the nervous system, in vertebrated animals. He takes out the 
cerebrum completely, leaving the cerebellum and other parts of 
the system uninjured. The animal loses all its senses of hear- 
ing, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting, is totally deprived of will, 
intelligence, memory, perception, (fcc. Yet lives for months in 
perfect health, with all its powers of motion, but without moving 
but on external excitement, starving even on a pile of grain, un- 
less crammed down its throat ; in short, in a state of the most ab- 
solute stupidity. He takes the cerebellum out of others, leaving 
the cerebrum untouched. The animal retains all its senses, fac- 
ulties, and understanding, but loses the power of regulated mo- 
tion, and exhibits all the symptoms of drunkenness. While he 
makes incisions in the cerebrum and cerebellum, lengthwise and 
crosswise, which heal and get well, a puncture in the medulla 
elongata is instant death ; and many other most interesting things 
too long for a letter. Cabanis had proved by the anatomical 
structure of certain portions of the human frame, that they might 
be capable of receiving from the hand of the Creator the faculty 
of thinking ; Flourens proves that they have received it; that the 
cerebrum is the tliinking organ ; and that life and health may 
continue, and the animal be entirely without thought, if deprived 
of that organ. I wish to see what the spiritualists will say to 
this. Whether in this state the soul remains in the body, de- 
prived of its essence of thought ? or whether it leaves it, as in 
death, and where it goes ? His memoirs and experiments have 


been reported on with approbation by a committee ol the insti- 
tute, composed of Cuvier, Bertholet, Dumaril, Portal and Pinel. 
But all this, you and I shall know better when we meet again, 
in another place, and at no distant period. In the meantime, 
that the revived powers of your frame, and the anodyne of phi- 
losophy may preserve you from all suffering, is my sincere and 
affectionate prayer. 


MoNi'icKi.Lo, January 8. 1825. 

Dear Sir, — I returned the first volume of Hall by a mail of a 
week ago, and by this, shall return the second. We have kept 
them long, but every member of the family wished to read his 
book, in which case, you know, it had a long gauntlet to run. 
It is impossible to read thoroughly such writings as those of 
Harper and Otis, who take a page to say what requires but a 
sentence, or rather, who give you whole pages of what is no- 
thing to the purpose. A cursory race over the ground is as much 
as they can claim. It is easy for them, at this day, to endeavor 
to whitewash their party, when the greater part are dead of those 
who witnessed what passed, others old and become indifferent 
to the subject, and others indisposed to take the trouble of an- 
swering them. As to Otis, his attempt is to prove that the sun 
does not shine at mid-day ; that that is not a fact which every 
one saw. He merits no notice. It is well known that Harper 
had little scruple about facts where detection was not obvious. 
By placing in false lights \vhatever admits it, and passing over in 
silence what does not, a plausible aspect may be presented of any- 
thing. He takes great pains to prove, for instance, that Hamil- 
ton was no monarchist, by exaggerating his own intimacy with 
him, and the impossibility, if he was so, that he should not, at 
some time, have betrayed it to him. This may pass with unin- 
formed readers, but not with those who have had it from Hamil- 
ton's own mouth. I am one of those, and but one of many. At 


my own taWe, in presence of Mr. Adams, Knox, Randolph, and 
myself, in a dispute between Mr. Adams and himself, he avowed 
his preference of monarchy over every other government, and his 
opinion that the English was the most perfect model of govern- 
ment ever devised by the wit of man, Mr. Adams agreeing " if 
its corruptions were done away." While Hamilton insisted that 
" with these corruptions it was perfect, and without them it 
would be an impracticable government." Can any one read Mr. 
Adams' defence of the American constitutions without seeing 
that he was a monarchist ? And J. Q.. Adams, the son, was more 
explicit than the father, in his answer to Paine's rights of man. 
So much for leaders. Their followers were divided. Some went 
the same lengths, others, and I believe the greater part, only 
wished a stronger Executive. When I arrived at New York in 
1790, to take a part in the administration, being fresh from the 
French revolution, while in its first and pure stage, and conse- 
quently somewhat whetted up in my own republican principles, 
I found a state of things, in the general society of the place, 
which I could not have supposed possible. Being a stranger 
there, I was feasted from table to table, at large set dinners, the 
parties generally from twenty to thirty. The revolution I had 
left, and that we had just gone through in the recent change of 
our own government, being the common topics of conversation, 
I was astonished to find the general prevalence of monarchical 
sentiments, insomuch that in maintaining those of republicanism, 
I had always the whole company on my hands, never scarcely 
finding among them a single co-advocate in that argument, un- 
less some old member of Congress happened to be present. The 
furthest that any one would go, in support of the republican fea- 
tures of our new government, would be to say, " the present con- 
stitution is well as a beginning, and may be allowed a fair trial ; but 
it is, in fact, only a stepping stone to something better." Among 
their writers, Denny, the editor of the Portfolio, who was a kind 
of oracle with them, and styled the Addison of America, openly 
avowed his preference of monarchy over all other forms of gov- 
brnment, prided himself on the avowal, and maintained it by ar- 


gument freely and without reserve, in his publications. I do not, 
myself, know that the Essex junto of Boston were monarchists, 
but I have always heard it so said, and never doubted. 

These, my dear Sir, are but detached items from a great mass 
of proofs then fully before the public. They are unknown to 
you, because you. were absent in Europe, and they are now dis- 
avowed by the party. T3ut, had it not been for the firm and de- 
termined stand then made by a counter-party, no man can say 
what our government would have been at this day. Monarchy, 
to be sure, is now defeated, and they wish it should be forgotten 
that it was ever advocated. They see that it is desperate, and 
treat its imputation to them as a calumny ; and I verily believe 
that none of them have it now in direct aim. Yet the spirit is 
not done away. The same party takes now what ihey deem 
the next best ground, the consolidation of the government ; the 
giving to the federal member of the government, by unlimited 
constructions of the constitution, a control over all the functions 
of the States, and the concentration of all power ultimately at 

The true history of that conflict of parties will never be in 
.possession of the public, until, by the death of the actors in it, 
the hoards of their letters shall be broken up and given to the 
world. I should not fear to appeal to those of Harper himself, 
if he has kept copies of them, for abundant proof that he was 
himself a monarchist. I shall not live to see these unrevealed 
proofs, nor probably you ; for time will be requisite. But time 
will, in the end, produce the truth. And, after all, it is but a 
truth which exists in every country, where not suppressed by the 
rod of despotism. Men, according to their constitutions, and the 
circumstances in which they are placed, differ honestly in opin- 
ion. Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you 
please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, &c. The latter 
fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher 
classes of society ; the former consider the people as the safest de- 
pository of power in the last resort ; they cherish them therefore, 
and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which 


they are competent. This is the division of sentiment now ex 
isting in the United States. It is the common division of whig 
and tory, or according to our denominations of republican and 
federal ; and is the most salutary of all divisions, and ought, 
therefore, to be fostered, instead of being amalgamated. For, 
take away this, and some more dangerous principle of division 
will take its place. But there is really ho amalgamation. The 
parties exist now as heretofore. The one, indeed, has thrown 
oil" its old name, and has not yet assumed a new one, although 
obviously consolidationists. And among those in the offices of 
every denomination I believe it to be a bare minority. 

I have gone into these facts to show how one-sided a view of 
this case Harper has presented. I do not recall these recollec- 
tions with pleasure, but rather wish to forget them, nor did I ever 
permit them to affect social intercourse. And now, least of all, 
am disposed to do so. Peace and good will with all mankind is 
my sincere wish. 1 willingly leave to the present generation to 
conduct their affairs as they please. And in my general affection 
to the whole human family, and my particular devotion to my 
friends, be assured of the high and special estimation iu which 
yourself is cordially held. 


XloNTiiiii.Lo, Jiimiary 11, 1826. 

Dear Sik, — We are dreadfully nonplussed here by the non- 
arrival of our three Professors. We apprehend that the idea of 
our opening on the 1st of February prevails so much abroad, 
(alt!;()Ugh we have always mentioned it doubtfully,) as that the 
students will assemble on that day without awaiting the further 
notice which was promised. To send them away will he dis^ 
couraging, and to open an University without Mathematics or 
Natural Philosophy would bring ou us ridicule and disgrace. We 
tln;rufore publish an advertisement, stating that on llie arrival 


of these Professors, notice will be given of the day of opening 
the institution. 

Governor Barbour writes me hopefully of getting our fifty 
thousand dollars from Congress. The proposition has beec 
originated in the House of Representatives, referred to the com- 
mittee of claims, the chairman of which has prepared a very fa- 
vorable report, and a bill conformable, assuming the repayment 
of all interest which the State has actually paid. The legislature 
will certainly owe to us the recovery of this money ; for had they 
not given it in some measure the reverenced character of a dona- 
tion for the promotion of learning, it would never have been paid. 
It is to be hoped, therefore, that the displeasure incurred by 
wringing it from them at the last session, will now give way to 
■ a contrary feeling, and even place us on a ground of some merit. 
Should this sentiment take place, and the arrival of our Pro- 
fessors, and filling our dormitories with students on the 1st of 
February, encourage them to look more favorably towards us, 
perhaps it might dispose them to enlarge somewhat their order 
on the same fund. You observe the Proctor has stated in a 
letter accompanying our Report, that it will take about twenty- 
five thousand dollars more than we have to finish the Rotunda. 
Besides this, an Anatomical theatre (cDSting about as much as 
one of our hotels, say about five thousand dollars,) is indispen- 
sable to the school of Anatomy. There cannot be a single dis- 
section until a proper theatre is prepared, giving an advantageous 
view of the operation to those within, and effectually excluding 
observation from without. Either the additional sums, there- 
fore, of twenty-five thousand and five thousand dollars will bo 
wanting, or we must be permitted to appropriate a part of the 
fifty thousand to a theatre, leaving the Rotunda unfinished for the 
present. Yet I should think neither of these objects an equivalent 
for renewing the displeasure of the legislature. Unless we can 
carry their hearty patronage with us, the institution can never 
flourish. I would not, therefore, hint at this additional aid, unless 
It were agreeable to our friends generally, and tolerably sure of 
being carried without irritation. 


In your letter of December the 31st, you say my " hand-writ' 
ing and my letters have great effect there," i. e. at Richmond. 
I am sensible, my dear Sir, of the kindness with which this en- 
couragement is held up to me. But my views of their effect are 
very different. When I retired from the administration of public 
affairs, I thought I saw some evidence that I retired with a good 
degree of public favor, and that my conduct in office had been 
considered, by the one party at least, with approbation, and with 
acquiescence by the other. But the attempt in which I have em- 
barked so earnestly, to procure an improvement in the moral 
condition of my native State, although, perhaps, in other States 
it may have strengthened good dispositions, it has assuredly weak- 
ened them within our own. The attempt ran foul of so man) 
local interests, of so many personal views, and so much ignorance, 
and I have been considered as so particularly its promoter, that I 
see evidently a great change of sentiment towards myself. I can- 
not doubt its having dissatisfied with myself a respectable minority, 
if not a majority of the House of Delegates. I feel it deeply, and 
very discouragingly. Yet I shall not give way. I have ever 
found in my progress through life, that, acting for the public, if 
we do always what is right, the approbation denied in the begin- 
ning will surely follow us in the end. It is from posterity we are 
to expect remuneration for the sacrifices we are making for their 
service, of time, quiet and good will And I fear not the appeal. 
The multitude of fine young men whom we shall redeem from 
ignorance, who will feel that they owe to us the elevation of 
mind, of character and station they will be able to attain from 
the result of our efforts, will insure their remembering us with 
gratitude. We will not, then, be " weary in well-doing." 
Usque ad aras amicus tuus. 


MoNTiOKLi.o, January 17, 1825. 

Deab Sir, — I have duly received four proof sheets of your ex- 
planation of the Apocalypse, with your letters of December 29th 


and January 8th ; in the last of which you request that, so soon 
as I shall be of opinion that the explanation you have given is 
correct, I would express it in a letter to you. Prom this you 
must be so good as to excuse me, because I make it an invariable 
rule to decline ever giving opinions on new publications in any 
case whatever. No man on earth has less taste or talent for 
criticism than myself, and least and last of all should I undertake 
to criticize works on the Apocalypse. It is between fifty and 
sixty years since I read it, and I then considered it as merely the 
ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation 
than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams. I was, there- 
fore, well pleased to see, in your first proof sheet, that it was said 
to be not the production of St. John, but of Cerinthus, a century 
after the death of that apostle. Yet the change of the author's 
name does not lessen the extravagances of the composition ; and 
come they from whomsoever they may, I cannot so far respect 
them as to consider them as an allegorical narrative of events, 
past or subsequent. There is not coherence enough in them to 
countenance any suite of rational ideas. You will judge, there- 
fore, from this how impossible I think it that either your explana- 
tion, or that of any man in " the heavens above, or on the earth 
beneath," can be a correct one. What has no meaning admits 
no explanation ; and pardon me if I say, with the candor of 
friendship, that I think your time too valuable, and your under- 
standing of too high an order, to be wasted on these paralogisms. 
You will perceive, I hope, also, that I do not consider them as 
revelations of the Supreme Being, whom I would not so far blas- 
pheme as to impute to him a pretension of revelation, couched 
at the same time in terms which, he would know, were never to 
be understood by those to whom they were addressed. In the 
candor of these observations, I hope you will see proofs of the 
confidence, esteem and respect which I truly entertain for you. 



Quixcy, Jiinunry 23, 1S25. 

My Dear Sir, — We think ourselves possessed, or at least we 
boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects and 
of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, 
and yet how far are Ave from these exalted privileges in fact. 
There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a 
law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the . divine 
inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from 
Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is pun- 
ished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In Eng- 
land itself, it is punished by boring through the tongue with a 
red-hot poker. In America it is not much better ; even in our 
Massachusetts, which, I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate 
and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was 
made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel 
punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and im- 
prisonment upon all those blasphemies upon any book of the Old 
Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer 
must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for ad- 
ducing any arguments for investigation into the divine authority 
of those books ? Who would run the risk of translating Volney's 
Recherches Nouvelles ? Who would run the risk of translating 
Dapin's ? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have 
it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great 
obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books 
t.hat caunot bear examination, certainly ought not to be estab- 
lished as divine inspiration by penal laws. It is true, few per- 
sons appear desirous to put such laws in execution, and it is also 
true that some few persons are hardy enough to venture to de- 
part from them ; but as long as they continue in force as laws, 
the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in 
its investigations. I wish they were repealed. The substance 
and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and un- 
changeable, and will bear examination forever ; but it has been 


mixed with extraneous ingredients, which, I think, will not bear 
examination, and they ought to be separated. Adieu. 

TO .* 

Mc>>'TiCELT,o, Fcliniary R, 18'25. 

Dear Sir, — Although our Professors were, on the 5th of Dt- 
cember, still in an English port, that they were safe raises me 
from the dead, for I was almost ready to give up the ship. That 
was eight weeks ago ; they may therefore be daily expected. 

In most public seminaries text-books are prescribed to each of 
the several schools, as the norma docendi in that school ; and this 
is generally done by authority of the trustees. I should not pro- 
pose this generally in our University, because I believe none of 
us are so much at the heights of science in the several branches, 
as to undertake this, and therefore that it will be better left to the 
Professors until occasion of interference shall be given. But 
there is one branch in which we are the best judges, in which 
heresies may be taught, of so interesting a character to our own 
State and to the United States, as to make it a duty in us to lay 
down the principles which are to be taught. It is that of gov- 
ernment. Mr. Gilmer being withdrawn, we know not who his 
successor may be. He may be a Richmond lawyer, or one of 
that school of quondam federalism, now consolidation. It is our 
duty to guard against such principles being disseminated among 
our youth, and the diffusion of that poison, by a previous prescrip- 
tion of the texts to be followed in their discourses. I therefore 
enclose you a resolution which I think of proposing at our next 
meeting, strictly confiding it to your own knowledge alone, .and 
to that of Mr. L'^yall, to whom you may communicate it, as I 
am sure it will harmonize with his principles. I wish it kept to 
ourselves, because I have always found that the less such things 
are spoken of beforehand, the less obstruction is contrived to be 
thrown in their way. 1 have communicated it to Mr. Madison. 
Should the bill for district colleges pass in the end, om- scheme 

* Address lost. 


of education will be complete. But the branch of primary 
schools may need attention, and should be brought, like the rest, 
to the forum of the legislature. The Governor, in his annual 
message, gives a favorable account of them in the lump. But 
this is not sufficient. We should know the operation of the law- 
establishing these schools more in detail. We should know how 
much money is furnished to each county every year, and how 
much education it distributes every year, and such a statement 
should be laid before the legislature every year. The sum of edu- 
cation rendered in each county in each year should be estimated' 
by adding together the number of months which each scholar at- 
tended, and stating the sum total of the months which all of thorn 
together attended, e. g., if in any county one scholar attended 
two months, three others four months each, eight others six 
months each, then the sum of these added together will make 
sixty-two months of schooling afforded in the county that year ; 
and the number of sixty-two months entered in a table opposite, 
to the name of the county, gives a satisfactory idea of the sum 
or quantum of education it rendered in that year. This will en- 
able us to take many interesting and important views of the 
sufficiency of the plan established, and of the amendments nec- 
essary to produce the greatest effect. I enclose a form of the 
table which would be required, in which you will of course be 
sensible that the numbers entered are at hap-hazard, and exempli 
gratia, as I know nothing of the sums furnished Or quantum of 
education rendered in each or any county. I send also the form 
of such a resolution as should be passed by the one or the other 
house, perhaps better in the lower one, and moved by some mem- 
ber nowise connected with us, for the less we appear before the 
house, the less we shall excite dissatisfaction. 

I mentioned to you formerly our want of an anatomical hall 
for dissection. But if we get the fifty thousand dollars from 
Congress, we can charge to that, as the library fund, the six thou- 
sand dollars of the building fund which we have advanced for it 
in books and apparatus, and repaying from the former the six 
thousand dollars due to the latter, apply so much of it as is nee- 



essary for the anatomical building. No application oii the sub- 
ject need therefore be made to our legislature. But I hear no- 
thing of our prospects before Congress. Yours affectionately. 

Resolved, That the Governor be requested to have prepared 
and laid before the legislature, at their next session, a statement 
in detail of the sum of education which, under the law establish- 
ing primary schools, has been rendered in the schools of each 
county respectively ; that it be stated in a tabular form, in the 
first column of which table shall be the names of the counties 
alphabetically arranged, and then, for every year, two other col- 
umns, in the first of which shall be entered, opposite to the name 
of each county, the sum of money furnished it in that year, and 
in the second shall be stated the sum of education rendered in 
the same county and year ; which sum is to be estimated by add- 
ing together the number of months of schooling which the sev- 
eral individuals attending received. And that henceforward a 
similar statement be prepared and laid before the legislature every 
year for that year. 


Accomac . . 

. $400 

216 months schooling 

Albemarle . . 




Amelia . . 

. 250 



Amherst . . 

. 400 



Augusta . . 

. 800 





MoNTiCELLo, February 20, 182.5. 

Dear Sir, — I thank you for the copy of your Cherokee gram- 
mar, which I have gone over with attention and satisfaction. We 
generally learn languages for the benefit of reading the books 
written in them. But here our reward must be the addition 
made to the philosophy of language. In this point of view your 

* AddreBB lost. 


analysis of the Cherokee adds valuable matter for reflection, and 
strengthens our desire to see more of these languages as scientific- 
ally elucidated. Their grammatical devices for the modifica- 
tion of their words by a syllable prefixed to, or inserted in the 
middle, or added to its end, and by other combinations so difi'er- 
ent from ours, prove that if man came from one stock, his lan- 
guages did not. A late grammarian has said that all words were 
originally monosyllables. The Indian languages disprove this. I 
should conjecture that the Cherokees, for example, have formed 
their language not by single words, but by phrases. I have 
known some children learn to speak, not by a word at a time, but 
by whole phrases. Thus the Cherokee has no name for father 
in the abstract, but only as combined with some one of his rela- 
tions. A complex idea being a fasciculus of simple ideas bundled 
together, it is rare that different languages make up their bundles 
alike, and hence the difficulty of translating from one language 
to another. European nations have so long had intercourse will 
one another, as to have approximated their complex expressions 
much towards one another. But I believe we shall find it im- 
possible to translate our language into any of the Indian, or any 
of theirs into ours. I hope you will pursue your undertaking, 
and that others will follow your example with other of their 
languages. It will open a wide field for reflection on the gram- 
matical organization of languages, their structure and character 
I am persuaded that among the tribes on our two continents a 
great number of languages, radically different, will be found. It 
will be curious to consider how so many so radically different 
will be found. It will be curious to consider how so many so 
radically different have been preserved by such small tribes in 
coterminous settlements of moderate extent. I had once collected 
about thirty vocabularies formed of the same English words, ex- 
pressive of such simple objects only as must be present and famil- 
iar to every one under these circumstances. They were unfor- 
tunately lost. But I remember that on a trial to arrange them 
into families or dialects, I found in one instance that about half a 


dozen might be so classed, in another perhaps three or four. 
But I am sure that a third at least, if not more, were perfectly in- 
sulation from each other. Yet this is the only index by which 
we can trace their filiation. 

I had received your observations on the changes proposed in 
Harvard College, without knowing from whom they came to me, 
and had been so much pleased with them as to have put them 
by for preservation. These observations, with the report and 
documents to which they relate, are a treasure of information to 
us ; they give to our infant institution the expei.ence of your an- 
cient and eminent establishment, I hope that we shall be like 
cordial colleagues in office, acting in harmony and affection for 
the same object. Our European professors, five in number, are 
at length arrived, and excite strong presumptions that they have 
been judiciously selected. We have announced our opening on 
the 7th of the ensuing month of March. With sincere wishes for 
the prosperity of yours, as well as ours, I pray you to accept as- 
surances of my high esteem and respect. 


Mo.NTicELLo, February 21, 1825. 

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer 
will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your 
affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would ad- 
dress to you something which might possibly have a favorable 
influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a 
namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be 
necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. 
Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as 
yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. 
Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into 
which you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and in- 
effable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the 

VOL. VII. 26 


things of this world, every action of your life will he under my 
regard. Farewell. 

The portrait of a good man by the most sublime of poets, f 01 
your imitation. 

Lord, who's the happy man that may to thy blest courts repair ; 

jSTot stranger-lite to visit them, but to inhabit there ? 

'Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves ; 

Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart disproves. 

Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound ; 

Nor hearken to a false report, by malice whispered round. 

Who vice in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect ; 

ind piety, though clothed in rage, religiously respect. 

(Vho to his plighted vows and trust has ever firmly stood ; 

And though he promise to his loss, he makes his promise good. 

tThose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ ; 

>Vhom no rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy. 

The man, who, by this steady course, has happiness insur'd. 

When earth's foundations shake, shall stand, by Providence seour'd. 

A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life. 

1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. 

2. Wever trouble another for what you can do yourself. 

3. Never spend your money before you have it. 

4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap ; it 
V( 11 ibe dear to you. 

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold. 

6. We never repent of having eaten too little. 

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. 

8. Ho-w- much pain have cost us the evils which have nevei 
happ ned. 

9. Take things always by their smooth handle 

19 When angry, count ten, before you speak ; if very angry, 
an hi., .dred. 


MoNTicELi.o, March 26, 1825. 

Deah Sir, — I know how apt we are to consider those whom 
we knew long ago, and have not since seen, to be exactly still 


what they were when we knew them ; and to have been station- 
ary in body and mind as they have been in our recollections. 
Have you not been under that illusion with respect to myself? 
When I had the pleasure of being a fellow-laborer with you in 
the public service, age had ripened, but not yet impaired what- 
ever of mind I had at any time possessed. But five-and-twen- 
ty chilling winters have since rolled over my head, and whitened 
every hair of it. Worn down by time in bodily strength, unable to 
walk even into my garden without too much fatigue, I cannot 
doubt that the mind has also suffered its portion of decay. Tf 
reason and experience had not taught me this law of nature, 
my own consciousness is a sufficient monitor, and warns me to 
keep in mind the golden precept of Horace, 

" Solve senescentem, mature sanus, equum, ne 
Pcceet ad extremum ridendus." 

1 am not equal, dear Sir, to the task you have proposed to me. 
To examine a code of laws newly reduced to system and text, to 
weigh their bearings on each other in all their parts, their harmo- 
ny with reason and natm'e, and their adaptation to the habits and 
sentiments of those for whom they are prepared, and whom, in 
this case, I do not know, is a task far above what I am now, or 
perhaps ever was. I have attended to so much of your work as 
has been heretofore laid before the public, and have looked, with 
some attention also, into what you have now sent me. It will 
certainly arrange your name with the sages of antiquity. Time 
and changes in the condition and constitution of society may re- 
quire occasional and corresponding modifications. One single 
object, if your provision attains it, will entitle you to the endless 
gratitude of society ; that of restraining judges from usurping leg- 
islation. And with no body of men is this restraint more want- 
ing than with the judges of what is commonly called oiu- gener- 
al government, but what I call our foreign department. They 
are practising on the constitution by inferences, analogies, and 
sophisms, as they would on an ordinary law. They do not seem 
aware that it is not even a constitution, formed by a single au- 


thority, and subject to a single superintendence and control ; but 
that it is a compact of many independent powers, every single 
one of which claims an equal right to understand it, and to re- 
quire its observance. However strong the cord of compact may 
be, there is a point of tension at which it will break. A few 
such doctrinal decisions, as barefaced as that of the Cohens, hap- 
pening to bear immediately on two or three of the large States, 
may induce them to join in arresting the march of government, 
and in arousing the co-States to pay some attention to what is 
passing, to bring back the compact to its original principles, or to 
modify it legitimately by the express consent of the parties them- 
selves, and not by the usurpation of their created agents. They 
imagine they can lead us into a consolidate government, while 
their road leads directly to its dissolution. This member of the 
government was at first considered as the most harmless and 
helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of de- 
claring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining, slily, 
and without alarm, the foundations of the constitution, can do 
what open force would not dare to attempt. I have not observed 
whether, in your code, you have provided against caucussing ju- 
dicial decisions, and for requiring judges to give their opinions 
seriatim, every man for himself, with his reasons and authorities 
at large, to be entered of record in his own words. A regard for 
reputation, and the judgment of the world, may sometimes be felt 
where conscience is dormant, or indolence inexcitable. Expe- 
rience has proved that impeachment in our forms is completely 

I am pleased with the style and diction of your laws Plain 
and intelligible as the ordinary writings of common sense, I hope 
it will produce imitation. Of all the countries on earth of which 
I have any knowledge, the style of the Acts of the British par- 
liament is the most barbarous, uncouth, and unintelligible. It 
can be understood by those alone who are in the daily habit of 
studying such tautologous, involved and parenthetical jargon. 
Where they found their model, I know not. Neither ancient 


nor modern codes, nor even their own early statutes, furnish any 
such example. And, like faithful apes, we copy it faithfully. 

In declining the undertaking you so flatteringly propose to me, 
1 trust you will see but an approvable caution for the age of four 
score and two, to avoid exposing itself before the public. The 
misfortune of a weakened mind is an insensibility of its weak- 
ness. Seven years ago, indeed, I embarked in an enterprise, the 
establishment of an University, which placed and keeps me still 
under the public eye. The call was imperious, the necessity 
most urgent, and the hazard of titubation less, by hose seven 
years, than it now is. The institution is at length happily ad- 
Tanced to completion, and has commenced under auspices as 
favorable as I could expect. I hope it will prove a blessing to 
my own State, and not unuseful perhaps to some others. At all 
hazards, and secured by the aid of my able coadjutors, I shall 
continue, while I am in being, to contribute to it whatever my 
■weakened and weakening powers can. But assuredly it is the 
last object for which I shall obtrude myself on the public obser- 

Wishing anxiously that your great work may obtam complete 
success, and become an example for the imitation and improve- 
ment of other States, I pray you to be assured of my unabated 
friendship and respect. 


MoNTiCKLLO, April 3, 1825. 

Deah Sir, — Your favor of March 25th has been duly received. 
The fact is unquestionable, that the Bill of Rights, and the Con- 
stitution of Virginia, were drawn originally by George Mason, 
one of our really great men, and of the first order of greatness. 
The history of the Preamble to the latter is this : I was then at 
Philadelphia with Congress ; and knowing that the Convention 
of Virginia was engaged in forming a plan of government, I 
turned my mind to the same subject, and drew a sketch or out- 


line of a Constitution, with a preamble, which I sent to Mr, Pen- 
dleton, president of the convention, on the mere possibility that 
it might suggest something worth incorporation intq that before 
the convention. He informed me afterwards by letter, that he 
received it on the day on which the Committee of the Whole had 
reported to the House the plan they had agreed to ; that that 
had been so long in hand, so disputed inch by inch, and the 
subject of so much altercation and debate ; that they were worried 
with the contentions it had produced, and could not, from mere 
lassitude, have been induced to open the instrument again ; but 
that, being pleased with the Preamble to mine, they adopted it 
in the House, by way of amendment to the Report of the Com- 
mittee ; and thus my Preamble became tacked to the work of 
George Mason. The Constitution, with the Preamble, was 
passed on the 29th of June, and the Committee of Congress had 
only the day before that reported to that body the draught of the 
Declaration of Independence. The fact is, that that Preamble 
was prior in composition to the Declaration ; and both having the 
same object, of justifying our separation from Great Britain, they 
used necessarily the same materials of justification, and hence 
their similitude. 

Withdrawn by age from all other public services and attentions 
to public things, I am closing the last scenes of life by fashion- 
ing and fostering an establishment for the instruction of those 
who are to come after us. I hope its influence on their virtue, 
freedom, fame and happiness, will be salutary and permanent. 
The form and distributions of its structure are original and 
unique, the architecture chaste and classical, and the whole well 
worthy of attracting the curiosity of a visit. Should it so prove 
to yourself at any time, it will be a great gratification to me to 
see you once more at Monticello ; and I pray you to be assured 
of my continued and high respect and esteem. 



MoNTicELLo, May 8, 1826. 

Dear Sir,— *******=# 
That George Mason was author of the bill of rights, and of the 
constitution founded on it, the evidence of the day established 
fully in my mind. Of the paper you mention, purporting to be 
instructions to the Virginia delegation in Congress, I have no 
recollection. If it were anything more than a project of some 
private hand, that is to say, had any such instructions been ever 
given by the convention, they would appear in the journals, 
■which we possess entire. But with respect to our rights, and the 
acts of the British government contravening those rights, there 
was but one opinion on this side of the water. All American 
whigs thought alike on these subjects. When forced, therefore, 
to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal of the 
world was deemed proper for our justification. This was the 
object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out ne\i 
principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely 
to say things which had never been said before ; but to place be- 
fore mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain 
and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in 
the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aim- 
ing at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from 
any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an ex- 
pression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the 
proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its author- 
ity rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether 
expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the ele- 
mentary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sid- 
ney, &c. The historical documents which you mention as in 
your possession, ought all to be found, and I am persuaded you 
v/-ill find, to be corroborative of the facts and principles advanced 
in that Declaration. Be pleased to accept assurances of my great 
esteem and respect 



MoNTiCELi.0, August 1, 1 825. 

I have duly received, dear Madam, your, letter of July 26th, 
and learn from it with much regret, that Miss Wright, your 
sister, is so much indisposed as to be obliged to visit our medic- 
inal springs. I wish she may be fortunate in finding those which 
may be adapted to her case. We have taken too little pains to 
ascertam the properties of our different mineral waters, the cases 
in which they are respectively remedial, the proper process in 
their use, and other circumstances necessary to give us their full 
value. My own health is very low, not having been able to 
leave the house for three months, and suffering much at times. 
In this state of body and mind, your letter could not have found 
a more inefficient counsellor, one scarcely able to think or to 
write. At the age of eighty-two, with one foot in the grave, 
and the other uplifted to follow it, I do not permii myself to take 
part in any new enterprises, even for bettering the condition of 
man, not even in the great one which is the subject of your 
letter, and which has been through life that of my greatest anx- 
ieties. The march of events has not been such as to render its 
completion practicable within the limits of time allotted to me ; 
and I leave its accomplishment as the work of another genera- 
tion. And 1 am cheered when I see that on which it is de- 
volved, taking it up with so much good will, and such minds 
engaged in its encouragement. The abolition of the evil is not 
impossible ; it ought never therefore to be despaired of. Every 
plan should be adopted, every experiment tried, which may do 
something towards the ultimate object. That which you pro- 
pose is well worthy of trial. It has succeeded with certain por- 
tions of our white brethren, under the care of a Rapp and an 
Ovveu ; and why may it not succeed with the man of color ? An 
opinion is hazarded by some, but proved by none, that moral ur- 
gencies are not sufficient to induce him to labor; that nothing 
can do this but physical coercion. But this is a problem which 
the present age alone is prepared to solve by experiment.' Ti 


would be a solecism to suppose a race of animals created, with- 
out sufficient foresight and energy to preserve their own exist- 
ence. It is disproved, too, by the fact that they exist, and have 
existed through all the ages of history. We are not sufficiently 
acquainted with all the nations of Africa, to say that there may 
not be some in which habits of industry are established, and the 
arts practised which are necessary to *"ender life comfortable. 
The experiment now in progress in St. Domingo, those of Sierra 
Leone and Cape Mesurado, are but beginning. Your proposition 
has its aspects of promise also ; and should it not answer fully to 
calculations in figures, it may yet, in its developments, lead to 
happy results. These; however, I must leave to another genera- 
tion. The enterprise of a different, but yet important character, 
in which I have embarked too late in life, I find more than suf- 
ficient to occupy the enfeebled energies remaining to me, and 
that to divert them to other objects, would be a desertion of 
these. You are young, dear Madam, and have powers of mind 
which may do much in exciting others in this arduous task. I 
am confident they will be so exerted, and I pray to heaven for 
their success, and that you may be rewarded with the blessings 
which such efforts merit. 


MoNTiCELLo, September 16, 1825. 

Deab Sik, — I am not able to give you any particular account 
of the paper handed you by Mr. Lee, as being either the original 
or a copy of the Declaration of Independence, sent by myself to 
his grandfather. The draught, when completed by myself, 
with a few verbal amendments by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, 
two members of the committee, in their own hand-writing, is 
now in my own possession, and a fair copy of this was reported to 
tiJe committee, passed by them without amendment, and then re- 
ported to Congress. This letter should be among the records 
of the old Congress ; and whether this or the one from which it 


was copied and now in my hands, is to be called the original is 
a question of definition. To that in my hands, if worth pre- 
serving, my relations with our University gives irresistible claims. 
"Whenever, in the course of the composition, a copy became over- 
charged, and difficult to be read with amendments, I copied it 
fair, and when that also was crowded with other amendments, 
another fair copy was made, &c. These rough draughts 1 sent 
to distant friends who were anxious to know what was passing. 
But how many, and to whom, I do not recollect. One sent to 
Mazzei was given by him to the Countess de Tessie (aunt of 
Madame de Lafayette) as the original, and is probably now in 
the hands of her family. Whether the paper sent to R. H. Lee 
was one of these, or whether, after the passage of the instrument, 
I made a copy for him, with the amendments of Congress, may, 
I think, be known from the face of the paper. The documents 
Mr. Lee has given you must be of great value, and until all these 
private hoards are made public, the real history of the revolution 
will not be known. 


MoNTicKLi.o, September 26, 18'25. 

Deak Sir, — ^It is not for me to estimate the importance of 
the circumstances concerning which your letter of the 8th makes 
mquiry. They prove, even in their minuteness, the sacred at- 
tachments of our fellow citizens to the event of which the pa- 
per of July 4th, 1776, was but the declaration, the genuine ef- 
fusion of the soul of our country at that time. Small things 
may, perhaps, like the relics of saints, help to nourish our devo- 
tion to this holy bond of our Union, and keep it longer alive 
and warm in our affections. This effect may give importance to 
circumstances, however small. At the time of writing that in- 
strument, I lodged in the house of a Mr. Graaf, a new brick 
house, three stories high, of which I rented the second floor, con- 
sisting of a parlor and bed-room, ready furnished. In that parlor 


I wrote habitually, and in it wrote this paper, particularly. So 
far I state from written proofs in my possession. The proprietor, 
Graaf, was a young man, son of a German, and then newly mar- 
ried. I think he was a bricklayer, and that his house was on 
the south side of Market street, probably between Seventh and 
Eighth streets, and if not the only house on that part of the street, 
I am sure there were few others near it. I have some idea that 
it was a corner house, but no other recollections throwing light 
on the question, or worth communication. I am ill, therefore 
only add assurance of my great respect and esteem. 

TO . 

MoNTiCELLO, October 25, 1825. 

Deak Sir, — I know not whether the professors to whom an- 
cient and modern history are assigned in the University, have yet 
decided on the course of historical reading which they will rec- 
ommend to their schools. If they have, I wish this letter to be 
considered as not written, as their course, the result of mature 
consideration, will be preferable to anything I could recommend. 
Under this uncertainty, and the rather as you are of neither of 
these schools, I may hazard some general ideas, to be corrected 
by what they may recommend hereafter. 

In all cases I prefer original authors to compilers. For a course 
of ancient history, therefore, of Greece and Rome especially, I 
should advise the usual suite of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xeno- 
phon, Diodoras, Livy, Caesar, Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dion, 
in their originals if understood, and in translations if not. For its 
continuation to the final destruction of the empire we must then 
be content with Gibbous, a compiler, and with Segur, for a ju- 
dicious recapitulation of the whole. After this general course, 
there are a number of particular histories filling up the chasms, 
which may be read at leisure in the progress of life. Such is 
Arrian, 2 Curtius, Poly bins, Sallust, Plutarch, Dionysius, Hali- 
carnassus, Micasi, &c. The ancient universal history should be 


on our shelves as a book of general reference, the most leaVned 
and most faithful perhaps that ever was written. Its style is very 
plain but perspicuous. 

In modern history, there are but two nations with whose course 
it is interesting to us to be intimately acquainted, to wit : France 
and England. For the former, Millot's General History of 
France may be sufficient to the period when 1 Davila com- 
mences. He should be followed by Perefixe, Sully, Voltaire's 
Louis XIV. and XV., la Cretelles XVIII.'"« siecle, Marmontel's 
Regence, Foulongion's French Revolution, and Madame de 
Stael's, making up by a succession of particular history, the gen- 
eral one which they want. 

Of England there is as yet no general history so faithful as 
Rapin's. He may be followed by Ludlow, Fox, Belsham, Hume 
and Brodie. Hume's, were it faithful, would be the finest piece 
of history which has ever been written by man. Its unfortunate 
bias may be partly ascribed to the accident of his having written 
backwards. His maiden work was the History of the Stuarts. 
It was a first essay to try his strength before the public. And 
whether as a_ Scotchman he had really a partiality for that 
family, or thought that the lower- their degradation, the more 
fame he should acquire by raising them up to sqme favor, the 
object of his work was an apology for them. He spared no- 
thing, therefore, to wash them white, and to palliate their mis- 
government. For this purpose he suppressed truths, advanced 
falsehoods, forged authorities, and falsified records. All this is 
proved on him unanswerably by Brodie. But so bewitching was 
his style and manner, that his readers were unwilling to doubt 
anything, swallowed everything, and all England became tories 
by the magic of his art. His pen revolutionized the public sen- 
timent of that country more completely than the standing armies 
could ever have done, which were so much dreaded and depre- 
cated by the patriots of that day. 

Having succeeded so eminently in the acquisition of fortune 
and fame by this work, he undertook the history of the two pre- 
ceding dynasties, the Plantagenets and Tudors. It was all-im- 


portaiit in this second work, to maintain the thesis of the first, 
that " it was the people who encroached on the sovereign, not 
the sovereign who usurped on the rights of the people." And, 
again, chapter 53d, " the grievances under which the English 
labored [to wit : whipping, pillorying, cropping, imprisoning, 
fining, &c.,J when considered in themselves, without regard to 
the constitution, scarcely deserve the name, nor were they either 
burthensome on the people's properties, or anywise shocking to 
the natural humanity of mankind." During the constant wars, 
civil and foreign, which prevailed while these two families occu- 
pied the throne, it was not difficult to find abundant instances 
of practices the most despotic, as are wont to occur in times 
of violence. To make this second epoch support the third, 
therefore, required but a little garbling of authorities. And it 
then remained, by a third work, to make of the whole a com- 
plete history of England, on the principles on which he had ad- 
vocated that of the Stuarts. This would comprehend the Saxon 
and Norman conquests, the former exhibiting the genuine form 
and political principles of the people constituting the nation, and 
founded in the rights of man ; the latter built on conquest and 
physical force, not at all affecting moral rights, nor even assented 
to by the free will of the vanquished. The battle of Hastings, 
indeed, was lost, but the natural rights of the nation were not 
staked on the event of a single battle. Their will to recover the 
Saxon constitution continued unabated, and was at the bottom 
of all the unsuccessful insurrections which succeeded in subse- 
quent times. The victors and vanquished continued in a state 
of living hostility, and the nation may still say, after losing the 
battle of Hastings, 

" What though the field is lost ? 
AU is not lost ; the unconquerable will 
And study of revenge, immortal hate 
And courage never to submit or yield." 

The government of a nation may be usurped by the forcible 
intrusion of an individual into the throne. But to conquer its will. 


so as to rest the right on that, the only legitimate basis, require^ 
long acquiescence and cessation of all opposition. The whig' 
historians of England, therefore, have always gone back to the 
Saxon period for the true principles of their constitution, while 
the tories and Hume, their CoryphEeus, date it from the Norman 
concjnest, and hence conclude that the continual claim by the na- 
tion of the good old Saxon laws, and the struggles to recover 
them, were " encroachments of the people on the crown, and not 
usurpations of the crown on the people." Hume, with Brodie, 
should be the last histories of England to be read. If first read, 
Hume makes an English tory, from whence it is an easy step to 
American toryism. But there is a history, by Baxter, in which,, 
abridging somewhat by leaving out some entire incidents as less 
interesting now than when Hume wrote, he has given the rest 
in the identical words of Hume, except that when he comes to 
a fact falsified, he states it truly, and when to a suppression of 
truth, he supplies it, never otherwise changing a word. It is, in 
fact, an editic expurgation of Hume. Those who shrink from 
the volume of Rapin, may read this first, and from this lay a first 
foundation in a basis of truth. 

For modern continental history, a very general idea may be first 
aimed at, leaving for future and occasional reading the particular 
histories of such countries as may excite curiosity at the time. 
This may be obtained from Mollet's Northern Antiquities, Vol. 
Esprit et Moeurs des Nations, Millet's Modern History, Rus- 
sel's Modern Europe, Hallam's Middle Ages, and Robertson's 
Charles V. 

You ask what book I would recommend to be first read in 
law. I am very glad to find from a conversation with Mr. Gil- 
mer, that he considers Coke Littleton, as methodized by Thomas, 
as unquestionably the best elementary work, and the one which 
will be the text book of his school. It is now as agreeable read- 
ing as Blackstone, and much more profound. I pray you to con- 
sider this hasty and imperfect sketch as intended merely to prove 
ray wish to be useful to you, and that with it you will accept 
the assurance of my esteem and respect. 



MoNTicELLo, November 9, 1825. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of July 30th was diily received, and 
we have now at hand the books you have been so kind as to 
send to our University. They are truly acceptable in them- 
selves, for we might have been years not knowing of their ex- 
istence ; but give the greater pleasure as evidence of the interest 
you have taken in our infant institution. It is going on as suc- 
cessfully as we could have expected ; and I have no reason to 
regret the measure taken of procuring Professors from abroad 
where science is so much ahead of us. You witnessed some of 
the puny squibs of which I was the butt on that account. They 
were probably from disappointed candidates, whose unworthiness 
had occasioned their applications to be passed over. The meas- 
ure has been generally approved in the South and West ; and by 
all liberal minds in the North. It has been peculiarly fortunate, 
too, that the Professors brought from abroad were as happy se- 
lections as could have been hoped, as well for their qualifications 
in science as correctness and amiableness of character. I think 
the example will be followed, and that it cannot fail to be one 
of the efficacious means of promoting that cordial good will, 
which it is so much the interest of both nations to cherish. 
These teachers can never utter an unfriendly sentiment towards 
their native country ; and those into whom their instructions will 
be infused, are not of ordinary significance only : they are ex- 
actly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our 
country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and for- 
tunes. As it is our interest to receive instruction through this 
channel, so I think it is yours to furnish it ; for these two na- 
tions holding cordially together, have nothing to fear from the 
united world. They will be the models for regenerating the 
condition of man, the sources from which representative govern- 
ment is to flow over the whole earth. 

I learn from you with great pleasure, that a taste is reviving 
in Englani for the recovery of the Anglo-Saxon dialect of oui 


language ; for a mere dialect it is, as much as those of Piers 
Plowman, Gower, Douglas, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, Mil- 
ton, for even much of Milton is already antiquated. The Anglo- 
Saxon is only the earliest we possess of the many shades of mu- 
tation by which the language has tapered down to its modern 
form. Vocabularies we need for each of these stages from Som- 
ner to Bailey, but not grammars for each or any of them. The 
grammar has changed so little, in the descent from the earliest, 
to the present form, that a little observation suffices to under- 
stand its variations. We are greatly indebted to the worthies 
who have preserved the Anglo-Saxon form, from Doctor Hickes 
down to Mr. Bosworth. Had they not given to the public what 
we possess through the press, that dialect would by this time 
have been irrecoverably lost. I think it, however, a misfortune 
that they have endeavored to give it too much of a learned form, 
to mount it on all the scaffolding of the Greek and Latin, to load 
it with their genders, numbers, cases, declensions, conjugations, 
&c. Strip it of these embarrassments, vest it in the Roman type 
which we have adopted instead of our English black letter, re- 
form its uncouth orthography, and assimilate its pronunciation, 
as. much as maybe, to the present English, just as we do in 
reading Piers Plowman or Chaucer, and with the cotemporary 
vocabulary for the few lost words, we understand it as we do 
them. For example, the Anglo-Saxon text of the Lord's prayer, 
as given us 6th Matthew, ix., is spelt and written thus, in the 
equivalent Roman type : " Faeder ure thee the eart in heafenum. 
si thin nama ychalgod. To becume thin rice. Gerrurthe thin 
willa on eartham, swa swa on heofenum. Ume doeghw amli 
can hlaf syle us to doeg. And forgyfus ure gyltas, swa swa we 
forgifath urum gyltendum. And ne ge-loedde thu us on costnunge, 
ae alys us of yfele." I should spell and pronounce thus: 
" Father our, thou tha art in heavenum, si thine name y-hal- 
lowed. Come thin ric-y-wurth thine will on eartham, so so on 
heavenum : ourn daynhamlican loaf sell us to-day, and forgive 
us our guilts so so we forgiveth ourum guiltendum. And no 
y-lead thou us on costnunge, ac a-lease us of evil." And here it 


is to be observed by-the-bye, that there is but the single word 
" temptation" in our present version of this prayer that is not 
Anglo-Saxon ; for the word " trespasses" taken from the French, 
(„tf>n\rii,un, in the original) might as well have been translated by 
the Anglo-Saxon " guilts." 

The learned apparatus in which Dr. Hickes and his successors 
have muffled our Anglo-Saxon, is what has frightened us from 
encountering it. The simplification I propose may, on the con- 
trary, make it a regular part of our common English education. 

So little reading and writing was there among our Anglo- 
Saxon ancestors of that day, that they had no fixed orthography. 
To produce a given sound, every one jumbled the letters to- 
gether, according to his unlettered notion of their power, and all 
jumbled them diflferently, just as would be done at this day, 
were a dozen peasants, who have learnt the alphabet, but have 
never read, desired to write the Lord's prayer. Hence the varied 
modes of spelling by which the Anglo-Saxons meant to express 
the same sound. The word many, for example, was spelt in 
twenty different ways ; yet we cannot suppose they were twenty 
different words, or that they had twenty different ways of pro- 
nouncing the same word. The Anglo-Saxon orthography, then, 
is not an exact representation of the sounds meant to be con- 
veyed. We must drop in pronunciation the superfluous conso- 
nants, and give to the remaining letters their present English 
sound ; because, not knowing the true one, the present enuncia- 
tion is as likely to be right as any other, and indeed more so, 
and facilitates the acquisition of the language. 

It is much to be wished that the publication of the pres- 
ent county dialects of England should go on. It will restore to 
us our language in all its shades of variation. It will incorporate 
into the present one all the riches of our ancient dialects ; and 
what a store this will be, may be seen by running the eye over 
the county glossaries, and observing the words we have lost by 
abandonment and disuse, which in sound and sense are inferior 
to nothing we have retained. When thede local vocabularies are 
published and digested together into a single one, it is probable 
VOL. VII. '27 


we shall find that there is not a word in Shakspeare which is not 
now in use in some of the counties in England, from whence we 
may obtain its true sense. And what an exchange will their re- 
covery be for the volumes of idle commentaries and conjectures 
with which that' divine poet has been masked and metamor- 
phosed. We shall find in him new sublimities which we had 
never tasted before, and find beauties in our ancient poets which 
are lost to us now. It is not that I am merely an enthusiast for 
Palseology. I set equal value on the l«autiful engraftments we 
have borrowed from Greece and Rome, and I am equally a friend 
to the encouragement of a judicious neology ; a language cannot 
be too rich. The more copious, the more susceptible of embel- 
lishment it will become. There are several things wanting to 
promote this improvement. To reprint the Saxon books in 
modern type ; reform their orthography ; publish in the same way 
the treasures still existing in manuscript. And, more than all 
things, we want a dictionary on the plan of Stephens or Scapula, 
in which the Saxon root, placed alphabetically, shall be followed 
by all its cognate modifications of nouns, verbs, «S6c., whether 
Anglo-Saxon, or found in the dialects of subsequent ages. We 
want, too, an elaborate history of the English language. In time 
our country may be able to co-operate with you in these labors, 
of common advantage, but as yet it is too much a blank, calhng 
for other and more pressing attentions. We have too much to 
do in the improvements of which it is susceptible, and which are 
deemed more immediately useful. Literature is not yet a dis- 
tinct profession with us. Now and then a strong mind arises, 
and at its intervals of leisure from business, emits a flash of light. 
But the first object of young societies is bread and covering ; 
science is but secondary and subsequent. 

I owe apology for this long letter. . It must be found in the 
circumstance of its subject having made an interesting part in 
the tenor of your letter, and in my attachment to it. It is a 
hobby which too often runs away with me where I meant not to 
give up the rein. Our youth seem disposed to mount it with 
me, and to begin their course where mine is ending. 


Our family recollects with pleasure the visit with which you 
favored us ; and join me in assuring you of our friendly and re- 
spectful recollections, and of the gratification it will ever be to us 
to hear of your health and welfare. 


MoNTicELLo, November 27, 1825. 

Sir, — Disqualified by age and 1 health from undertaking 
minute investigations, I find it will be easier for me to state to 
you my proposition of a lock-dock, for laying up vessels, high 
and dry, than to investigate yours. You will then judge for 
yourself whether any part of mine has anticipated any part of 

While I was at Washington, in the administration of the gov- 
ernment. Congress was much divided in opinion on the subject 
of a navy, a part of them wishing to go extensively into prepara- 
tion of a fleet, another part opposed to it, on the objection that 
the repairs and preservation of a ship, even idle in harbor, in ten 
or twelve years, amount to her original cost. It has been esti- 
mated in England, that if they could b.e sure of peace a dozen 
years it would be cheaper for them to burn their fleet, and build 
a new one when wanting, than to keep the old one in repair 
during that term. I learnt that, in Venice, there were then ships, 
lying on their original stocks, ready for launching at any mo- 
ment, which had been so for eighty years, and were still in a 
state of perfect preservation ; and that this was efiected by dis- 
posing of them in docks pumped dry, and kept so by constant 
pumping. It occurred to me that this expense of constant pump- 
ing might be saved by combining a lock with the common wet 
dock, wherever there was a running stream of water, the bed of 
which, within a reasonable distance, was of a sufiicient height 
above the high-water level of the harbor. This was the case at 
the navy-yard, on the eastern branch at Washington, the high- 
water line of which was seventy-eight feet lower than the groimd 


on which the Capitol stands, and to which it was found that the 
water of the Tyber creek could be brought for watering the city. 
My proposition then was as follows: Let a 6 be the high-water 
level of the harbor, and the vessel to be laid up draw eighteen 
feet water. Make a chamber A twenty feet deep below high 
water and twenty feet high above it, as c d ef, and at the upper 
end make another chamber, B, 

« f 




the bottom of which should be in the high-water level, and the 
tops twenty feet above that, g h is the water of the Tyber. 
When the vessel is to be introduced, open the gate at c b a. The 
tide water rises in the chamber A to the level b i, and floats the 
vessel in with it. Shut the gate c b d and open that of / i. The 
water of the Tyber fills both chambers to the level cfg, and the 
vessel floats into the chamber B ; then opening both gates c b d 
and fi, the water flows out, and the vessel settles down on the 
stays previously prepared, at the bottom i h to receive her. The 
gate at g h must of course bo closed, and the water of the feed- 
ing stream be diverted elsewhere. The chamber' B is to have a 
roof over it of the construction of that over the meal market at 
Paris, except that that is hemispherical, this semi-cylindrical. 
For this construction see Delenne's architecture, whose invention 
it was. The diameter of the dome of the meal market is con- 
siderably over one hundred feet. 

It will be seen at once, that instead of making the chamber B 
of sufficent width and length for a single vessel only, it may be 
widened to whatever span the semi-circular framing of the roof 
can be trusted, and to whatever length you please, so as to admit 
two or more vessels in breadth, and as many in length as the 
iocalities render expedient. 

I had a model of this lock-dock made and exhibited in the 


President's house, during the session of Congress at which it was 
proposed. But the advocates for a navy did not fancy it, and 
those opposed to the building of ships altogether, were equally 
indisposed to provide protection for them. Ridicule was also re- 
sorted to, the ordinary substitute for reason, when that fails, and 
the proposition was past over. I then thought and still think the 
measure wise, to have a proper number of vessels always read y 
to be launched, with nothing unfinished about them, except the 
planting their masts, which must of necessity be omitted, to be 
brought under a roof. Having no view in this proposition but 
to combine for the public a provision for defence, with economy 
in its preservation, I have thought no more of it since. And if 
any of my ideas anticipated yours, you are welcome to appropri- 
ate them to yourself, without objection on my part, and, with 
this assurance, I pray you to accept that of my best wishes and 

TO * 

MoNTiCELio. December 18, 1825. 

Dear Sir, — Your letters are always welcome, the last more 
than all others, its subject being one of the dearest to my heart. 
To my grand-daughter your commendations cannot fail to be 
an object of high ambition, as a certain passport to the good 
opinion of the world. If she does not cultivate them with assi- 
duity and affection, she will illy fulfil my parting injunctions. I 
trust she will merit a continuance of your favor, and find in her 
new situation the general esteem she so happily possessed in the 
society she left. You tell me she repeated to you an expression 
of mine, that I should be willing to go again over the scenes of 
past life. I should not be unwilling, without, however, wishing 
it ; and why not ? I have enjoyed a greater share of health than 
falls to the lot of most men ; my spirits have never failed me ex- 
cept under those paroxysms of grief which you, as well as my- 
self, have experienced in every form, and with good health and 
good spirits, the pleasures surely outweigh the pains of life. 

* Address lost. 


Why not, then, taste them again, fat and lean together ? Were 
I indeed permitted to cut off from the train the last seven years, 
the halance would he much in favor of treading the ground over 
again. Being at that period in the neighborhood of our warm 
springs, and well in health, I wished to be better, and tried them. 
They destroyed, in a great degree, my internal organism, and I 
have never since had a moment of perfect health. I have now 
been eight months confined almost constantly to the house, with 
now and then intervals of a few days on which I could get on 

I presume you have received a copy of the life of Richard H. 
Lee, from his grandson of the same name, author of the work. 
You and 1 know that he merited much during the revolution. 
Eloqii^nt, bold, and ever watchful at his post, of which his bi- 
■ ogra^er omits no proof. I am not certain whether the friends 
of George Mason, of Patrick Henry, yourself, and even of Gen- 
eral Washington, may not reclaim some feathers of the plumage 
given him, noble as was his proper and original coat. But on 
this subject I will anticipate your own judgment. 

I learn with sincere pleasure that you have experienced lately 
a great renovation of your health. That it may continue to the 
ultimate period of your wishes is the sincere prayer of usque ad 
eras amicissimi tui. 


Monti OKLLO, December 24. 1825. 

Dear Sih, — I have for some time considered the question of 
internal improvement as desperate. The torrent of general opin- 
ion sets so strongly in favor of it as to be irresistible. And 1 
suppose that even the opposition in Congress will hereafter be 
feeble and formal, unless something can be done which may give 
a gleam of encouragement to our friends, or alarm their oppo- 
nents in their fancied security. I learn from Richmond that 
those who think with us there are in a state of perfect dismay, 


uot knowing what to do or what to propose. Mr. Goi'don, our 
representative, particularly, has written to me in very desponding 
terms, not disposed to yield indeed, but pressing for opinions and 
advice on the subject. I have no doubt you are pressed in the 
same way, and I hope you have devised and recommended some- 
thing to them. If you have, stop here and read no more, but 
consider all that follows as non-avemie. I shall be better satis- 
fied to adopt implicitly anything which you may have advised, 
than anything occurring to myself. For I have long ceased to 
think on subjects of this kind, and pay little attention to public 
proceedings. But if you have done nothing in it, then I risk for 
your consideration what has occurred to me, and is expressed in 
the enclosed paper.* Bailey's propositions, which came to hand 
since I wrote the paper, and which I suppose to have come from 
the President himself, show a little hesitation in the purposes of 
his party ; and in that state of mind, a bolt shot critically may de- 
cide the contest by its effect on the less bold. The olive branch 
held out to them at this moment may be accepted, and the con- 
stitution thus saved at a moderate sacrifice. I say nothing of the 
paper, which will explain itself. The following heads of con- 
sideration, or some of them, may weigh in its favor : 

It may intimidate the wavering. It may break the western 
coalition, by offering the same thing in a different form. It will 
be viewed with favor in contrast with the Georgia opposition and 
fear of strengthening that. It will be an example of a temperate 
mode of opposition in future and similar cases. It will delay the 
measure a year at least. It will give us the chance of better 
times and of intervening accidents ; and in no way place us in 
a worse than our present situation. I do not dwell on these top- 
ics ; your mind will develop them. 

The first question is, whether you approve of doing anything 
of the kind. If not, send it back to me, and it shall be sup- 
pressed ; for I would not hazard so important a measure against 

•See under head of " Miscellaneous Papers," the paper here alluded to, entitled, 
"The sblemn Declaration and Protest of the Commonwealth of Virginia on the 
principles of the Constitution of the United States of America, and on the viola 
tions of them."' 


youi- opinion, nor even without its support. If you think it may 
be a canvass on which to put something good, make what altera- 
tions you please, and I will forward it to Gordon, under the most 
sacred injunctions that it shall be so used as that not a shadow of 
suspicion shall fall on you or myself, that it has come from either 
of us. But what you do, do as promptly as your convenience 
will admit, lest it should be anticipated by something worse. 
Ever and affectionately yours. 


MoKTioKLi.o, December 25, 1825. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of the 15th was received four days ago. 
It found me engaged in what I could not lay aside till this day. 

Far advanced in my eighty-third year, worn down with in- 
firmities which have confined me almost entirely to the house 
for seven or eight months past, it afflicts me much to receive ap- 
peals to my memory for transactions so far back as that which 
is the subject of your letter. My memory is indeed become 
almost a blank, of which no better proof can probably be given 
you than by my solemn protestation, that I have not the least 
recollection of your intervention between Mr. John Q,. Adams 
and myself, in what passed on the subject of the embargo. Not 
the slightest trace of it remains in my mind. Yet I have no 
doubt of the exactitude of the statement in your letter. And 
the less, as I recollect the interview with Mr. Adams, to which 
the previous communications which had passed between him 
aad yourself were prol.ably and naturally the preliminary. That 
interview I remember well ; not indeed in the very words which 
passed between us, but in their substance, which was of a char- 
acter too awful, too deeply engraved in my mind, and influencing 
too materially the course I had to pursue, ever to be forgotten. 
Mr. Adams called on me pending the embargo, and while en- 
deavors were making to obtain its repeal. He made some apol- 
ogies for the call, on the ground of our not being then in the 
habit of confidential communications, but that that which he had 


then to make, involved too seriously the interest of our country 
not to overrule all other considerations with him, and make it 
his duty to reveal it to myself particularly. I assured him there 
was no occasion for any apology for his visit ; that, on the con- 
trary, his communications would be thankfully received, and 
would add a confirmation the more to my entire confidence in 
the rectitude and patriotism of his conduct and principles. He 
spoke then of the dissatisfaction of the eastern portion of our 
confederacy with the restraints of the embargo then existing, 
and their restlessness under it. That there was nothing which 
might not be attempted, to rid themselves of it. That he had 
information of the most unquestionable certainty, that certain 
citizens of the eastern States ^l think he named Massachusetts 
particularly) were in negotiation with agents of the British gov- 
ernment, the object of which was an agreement that the New 
England States should take no further part in the war then going 
on ; that, without formally declaring their separation from the 
Union of the States, they should withdraw from all aid and 
obedience to them ; that their navigation and commerce should 
be free from restraint and interruption by the British ; that they 
should be considered and treated by them as neutrals, and as such 
might conduct themselves towards both parties ; and, at the close 
of the war, be at liberty to rejoin the confederacy. He assured 
me that there was eminent danger that the conventioii would 
take place ; that the temptations were such as might debauch 
many from their fidelity to the Union ; and that, to enable its 
friends to make head against it, the repeal of the embargo was 
absolutely necessary. I expressed a just sense of the merit of 
this information, and of the importance of the disclosure to the 
safety and even the salvation of our country ; and however re- 
luctant I was to abandon the measure, (a measure which perse- 
vered in a little longer, we had subsequent and satisfactory assur- 
ance would have effected its object completely,) from that mo- 
ment, and influenced by that information, I saw the necessity of 
abandoning it, and instead of effecting our purpose by this peace- 
ful weapon, we must fight it out, or break the Union. I then 


recommended to yield to the necessity of a repeal of the em- 
bargo, and to endeavor to supply its place by the best substitute, 
in which they could procure a general concurrence. 

I cannot too often repeat, that this statement is not pretended 
to be in the very words which passed ; that it only gives faith- 
fully the impression remaining on my mind. The very words 
of a conversation are too transient and fugitive to be so long re- 
tamed in remembrance. But the substance was too important to 
be forgotten, not only from the revolution of measures it obliged 
me to adopt, but also from the renewals of it in my memory on the 
frequent occasions I have had of doing justice to Mr. Adams, by 
repeating this proof of his fidelity to his country, and of his su- 
periority over all ordinary considerations when the safety of that 
was brought into question. 

With this best exertion of a waning memory which I can 
command, accept assurances of my constant and aifectionate 
friendship and respect. 


MoNTioELi.o, Deeembei' 26, 1825. 

Deab Sib, — I wrote you a letter yesterday, of which you will 
be free to make what use you please. This will contain matters 
not intended for the public eye. I see, as you do, and with the 
deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch 
of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the 
rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of 
all powers, foreign and domestic ; and that too, by constructions 
which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power. Take to- 
gether the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the 
President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional compact 
acted on by the legislature of the federal branch, and it is but too 
evident, that the three ruling branches of that department are in 
combination to strip their colleagues, the State authorities, of the 
powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all func- 


tions foreign and domestic. Under the power to regulate com- 
merce, they assume indefinitely that also over agriculture and 
manufactures, and call it regulation to take the earnings of one 
of these branches of industry, and that too the most depressed, 
and put them into the pockets of the other, the most flourishing 
of all. Under the authority to establish post roads, they claim 
that of cutting down mountains for the construction of roads, of 
digging canals, and aided by a little sophistry on the words 
" general welfare," a right to do, not only the acts to effect that, 
which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever 
they shall think, or pretend will be for the general welfare. 
And what is our resource for the preservation of the constitution ? 
Reason and argument ? You might as well reason and argue 
with the marble columns encircling them. The representatives 
chosen by ourselves ? They are joined in the combination, 
some from incorrect views of government, some from corrupt 
ones, sufiicient voting together to out-number the sound parts ; 
and with majorities only of one, two, or three, bold enough to go 
forward in defiance. Are we then to stand to our arms, with 
the hot-headed Georgian ? No. That must be the last resource, 
not to be thought of until much longer and greater sufferings. 
If every infraction of a compact of so many parties is to be re- 
sisted at once, as a dissolution of it, none can ever be formed 
which would last one year. We must have patience and longer 
endurance then with our brethren while under delusion ; give 
them time for reflection and experience of consequences ; keep 
ourselves in a situation to profit by the chapter of accidents ; and 
separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives 
left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission 
to a government without limitation of powers. Between these 
two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesita- 
tion. But in the meanwhile, the States should be watchful to 
note every material usurpation on their rights ; to denounce them 
as they occur in the most peremptory terms ; to protest against 
them as wrongs to which our present submission shall be con- 
sidered, not as acknowledgments or precedents of right, but as a 


temporary yielding to the lesser evil, until their accumulation 
shall overweigh that of separation. I would go still further, and 
give to the federal member, by a regular amendment of the con- 
stitution, a right to make roads and canals of intercommunication 
between the ■ States, providing sufficiently against corrupt prac- 
tices in Congress, (log-rolling, &c.,) by declaring that the federal 
proportion of each State of the moneys so employed, shall be in 
works within the State, or elsewhere with its consent, and with 
a due salvo of jurisdiction. This is the course which I think 
safest and best as yet. 

You ask my opinion of the propriety of giving publicity to what 
is stated in your letter, as having passed between Mr. John Q.. 
Adams and yourself. Of this no one can judge but yourself It 
is one of those questions which belong to the forum of feeling. 
This alone can decide on the degree of confidence implied in 
the disclosure ; whether under no circumstances it was to be 
communicated to others? It does not seem to be of that char- 
acter, or at all to wear that aspect. They are historical facts 
which belong to the present, as well as future times. I doubt 
whether a single fact, known to the world, will carry as clear 
conviction to it, of the correctness of our knowledge of the trea- 
sonable views of the federal party of that day, as that disclosed 
by this, the most nefarious and daring attempt to dissever the 
Union, of which the Hartford convention was a subsequent chap- 
ter ; and both of these having failed, consolidation becomes the 
fourth chapter of the next book of their history. But this opens 
with a vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, 
who, having nothing in tnem of the feelings or principles of '76, 
now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, 
founded on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations 
under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manu- 
factures, commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the 
plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry. This will be to 
them a next best blessing to the monarchy of their first aim, and 
perliaps the surest stepping-stone to it. 

I learu with great satisfaction that your school is thriving well, 


and hat you have at its head a truly classical scholar. He is 
one of three or four whom I can hear of in the State. We 
were obliged the last year to receive shameful Latinists into the 
classical school of the University, such as we will certainly refuse 
as soon as we can get from better schools a sufficiency of those 
properly instructed to form a class. We must get rid of this 
Connecticut Latin, of this barbarous confusion of long and short 
syllables, which renders doubtful whether we are listening to a 
reader of Cherokee, Shawnee, Iroquoi's, or what. Our Univer- 
sity has been most fortunate in the five professors procured from 
England. A finer selection could not have been made. Besides 
their being of a grade of science which has left little superior be- 
hind, the correctness of their moral character, their accommo- 
dating dispositions, and zeal for the prosperity of the institution, 
leave us nothing more to wish. I verily believe that as high a 
degree of education can now be obtained here, as in the country 
they left. And a finer set of youths I never saw assembled for 
instruction., Thej'' committed some irregularities at first, until 
they learned the lawful length of their tether ; since which it has 
never been transgressed in the smallest degree. A great propor- 
tion of them are severely devoted to study, and I fear not to say 
that within twelve or fifteen years from this time, a majority of 
the rulers of our State will have been educated here. They 
shall carry hence the correct principles of our day, and you may 
count assuredly that they will exhibit their country in a degree 
of sound respectability it has never known, either in our days, 
or those of our forefathers. I cannot live to see it. My joy 
must only be that of anticipation. But that you may see it in 
full fruition, is the probable consequence of the twenty years I 
am ahead of you in time, and is the sincere prayer of your affec- 
tionate and constant friend. 



MoNTicELLo, January 9, 1826. 

Deak Sir, — I have duly received your favor of December the 
31st, and fear, with you, all the evils which the present lowering 
aspect of our political horizon so ominously portends. That at 
some future day, which I hoped to be very distant, the free prin- 
ciples of our government might change with the change of 
circumstances was to be expected. But I certainly did not ex- 
pect that they would not over-live the generation which estab- 
lished them. And what I still less expected was, that my favor- 
ite western country was to be made the instrument of change. 1 
had ever and fondly cherished the interests of that country, rely- 
ing on it as a barrier against the degeneracy of public opinion 
from our original and free principles. But the bait of local in- 
terests, artfully prepared for their palate, has decoyed them from 
their kindred attachments, to alliances alien to them. Yet al- 
though I have little hope that the torrent of consolidation can be 
withstood, I should not be for giving up the ship without efforts 
to save her. She lived well through the first squall, and may 
weather the present one. But, dear Sir, I am not the champior; 
called for by our present dangers. " Non tali auxilio, nee defen- 
soribus istis, tempus eget." A waning body, a waning mind, and 
waning memory, with habitual ill health, warn me to withdraw 
and relinquish the arena to younger and abler athletes. I am 
sensible myself, if others are not, that this is my duty. If my 
distant friends know it not, those around me can inform them 
that they should not. in friendship, wish to call me into conflicts, 
exposing only the decays which nature has inscribed among her 
unalterable laws, and injuring the common cause by a senile and 
Duny defence. 

I will, however, say one word on the subject. The South 
Carolina resolutions. Van Buren's motion, and above all Bayley's 
propositions, show that other States are coming forward on the 
subject, and better for any one to take the lead than Virginia, 
where opposition is considered as common-place, and a mere 


matter of form and habit. We shall see what our co-States pro- 
pose, and before the close of the session "we may shape our own 
course more understandingly. 

Accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect. 

TO * 

MoNTfCELi.o, .January '21. 1826. 

Deae Sir, — Your favor of January 15th is received, and I am 
entirely sensible of the kindness of the motives which suggested 
the caution it recommended. But I believe what I have done 
is the onlv thing I could have done with honor or conscience. 
Mr. Giles requested me to state a fact which he knew himself, 
and of which he knew me to be possessed. What use he intend- 
ed to make of it I knew not, nor had I a right to inquire, or to 
indicate any suspicion that he would rnake an unfair one. That 
was his concern, not mine, and his character was sufficient to 
sustain the responsibility for it. I knew, too, that if an nncandid 
use should be made of it, there would be found those who would 
so prove it. Independent of the terms of intimate friendship in 
which Mr. Giles and myself have ever lived together, the world's 
respect entitled him to the justice of my testimony to any truth 
he might call for ; and how that testimony should connect me with 
whatever he-may do or write hereafter, and with his whole career, 
as you apprehend, is not understood hf me. With his personal 
controversies I have nothing to do. I .never took any part in 
them, or in those of any other person. Add to this, that the state- 
ment I have given him on the subject of Mr. Adams, is entirely 
honorable to him in every sentiment and fact it contains. There 
is not a word in it which I would wish to recall. It is one which 
Mr. Adams himself might willingly quote, did he need to quote 
anything. It was simply that during the continuance of the em- 
bargo, Mr. Adams informed me of a combination (without nam- 
ing any one concerned in it,) which had for its object a sever- 

* Address lost. 


ance of the Union, for a tirpe at least. That Mr. Adams and 
myself not being then in the habit of mutual consultation and 
confidence, I considered it as the stronger proof of the purity of 
his patriotism, which was able to lift him above all party pas- 
sions when the safety of his country was endangered. Nor have 
I kept this honorable fact to myself. During the late canvas, 
particularly, I had more than one occasion to quote it to persons 
who were expressing opinions respecting him, of which this was 
a direct corrective. I have never entertained for Mr. Adams any 
but sentiments of esteem and respect ; and if we have not thouglit 
alike on political subjects, I yet never doubted the honesty of 
his opinions, of which the letter in question, if published, will 
be an additional proof. Still, I recognize your friendship in sug- 
gesting a review of it, and am glad of this, as of every other oc- 
casion of repeating to you the assurance of my constant attach- 
ment and respect. 


MoNTicitLr.o, February 17, 18'26. 

Dear Sir, — ******** 

Immediately on seeing the overwhelming vote of the House 
of Representatives against giving us another dollar, I rode to the 
University and desired Mr. Brockenbrough to engage in nothing 
new, to stop everything 6n hand which could be done without, 
and to employ all hig force and funds in finishing the circular 
room for the books, and the anatomical theatre. These can- 
not be done without ; and for these and all our debts we have 
funds enough. But I think it prudent then to clear the decks 
thoroughly, to see how we shall stand, and what we may ac- 
complish further. In the meantime, there have arrived for us in 
different ports of the United States, ten boxes of books from 
Paris, seven from London, and from Germany I know not how 
many ; in all, perhaps, about twenty-five boxes. Not one of 
these can be opened until the book-room is completely finished, 


and all the shelves ready to receive their charge directly from 
the boxes as they shall be opened. This cannot be till May. I 
hear nothing definitive of the three thousand dollars duty of 
which we are asking the remission from Congress. In the se- 
lection of our Law Professor, we must be rigorously attentive to 
his political principles. You will recollect that before the revo- 
lution, Coke Littleton was the universal elementary book of law 
students, and a sounder whig never wrote, nor of profounder 
learning in the orthodox doctrines of the British constitution, or 
in what were called English liberties. You remember also that 
our lawyers were then all whigs. But when his black-letter text, 
and uncouth but cunning learning got out of fashion, and the 
honied Mansfieldism of Blackstone became the students' horn- 
book, from that moment, that profession (the nursery of our Con- 
gress) began to slide into toryism, and nearly all the young brood 
of lawyers now are of that hue. They suppose themselves, in- 
deed, to be whigs, because they no longer know what whigism 
or republicanism means. It is in our seminary that that vestal 
flame is to be kept alive ; it is thence it is to spread anew over 
our own and the sister States. If we are true and vigilant in our 
trust, within a dozen or twenty years a majority of our own legis- 
lature wili be from one school, and many disciples will have car- 
ried its doctrines home with them to their several States, and will 
have leavened thus the whole mass. New York has taken strong 
ground in vindication of the constitution ; South Carolina had 
already done the same. Although I was against our leading, I 
am equally against omitting to follow in the same line, and 
backing them firmly ; and I hope that yourself or some other 
will mark out the track to be pursued by us. 

You will have seen in the newspapers some proceedings in the 
legislature, which have cost me much mortification. My own 
debts had become considerable, but not beyond the effect of 
some lopping of property, which would have been little felt, 
when our friend **** gave me the coup de grace. Ever since 
that I have been paying twelve hundred dollars a year interest 
on his debt, which, with my own, was absorbing so much of 
vtiL. VII. 28 


my annual income, as that the maintenance of my family was 
making deep and rapid inroads on my capital, and had already 
done it. Still, sales at a fair price would leave me competently 
provided. Had crops and prices for several years been such as 
to maintain a steady competition of substantial bidders at market, 
all would have been safe. But the long succession of years of 
stunted crops, of reduced prices, the general prostration of the 
farming business, under levies for the support of manufacturers, 
&c., with the calamitous fluctuations of value in our paper me- 
dium, have kept agriculture in a state of abject depression, which 
has peopled the western States by silently breaking up those on 
the Atlantic, and glutted the land market, while it drew off its 
bidders. In such a state of things, property has lost its charac- 
ter of being a resource for debts. Highland in Bedford, which, 
in the days of our plethory, sold readily for from iifty to one 
hundred dollars the acre, (and such sales were many then,] would 
not now sell for more than from ten to twenty dollars, or one- 
quarter or one-fifth of its former price. Reflecting on these 
things, the practice occurred to me, of selling, on fair valuation, 
and by way of lottery, often resorted to before the Revolution to